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Full text of "History of Burntisland; Scottish burgh life, more particularly in the time of the Stuarts"

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:: :: STUARTS :: :: 






I AM indebted for materials for the following 
sketch of events in Burnt island and burgh 
life in early days principally to the Buriit- 
island Council Records (for free access to which I 
have to thank the Provost and Town Council), the 
hooks of the Guildry and Hammermen, the report 
of the Commissioners to the Muncipal Corporations 
of Scotland in 1832, Provost Speed's notes, the 
Exchequer Rolls, and the Privy Council Kecords. 
But many other sources have been drawn upon, 
which when important will be acknowledged as 
occasion arises. 

These researches have resulted in the discovery 
of some very interesting- facts about Burntislaud 
and the old burgh system which, though in some 
instances forcing us to part with what had been 
considered well grounded belief, give a new and 
unexpected value to what was previously known 
and accepted but not fully understood. 

Much lias been written of late on the early life 
of important Scottish towns, mainly in relation to 
their guilds or trade unions, and partly because of 
their military history. From 1548 to 1.7 lo Burnt- 
islaud was on five occasions subjected to attacks by 
sea. One of these that by Cromwell was con- 
tinued for several days, and at his time the town 
was completely enclosed and armed with about 40 




Tuns. Its possession was absolutely esseuiial to 
Cromwell, and after its surrender to him it en- 
dured the "Tip of military rule for nine years. 
Burotisland also affords a more than usually good 
p;>ttern for the study of Scottish burgh life from 
tli? early struggles of the Reformation onwards, 
and especially in the seventeenth century. It was 
pre-eminently a Royal burgh, the particular dar- 
ling of James V., who built its first piers, and 
had great hopes of it as a base for naval opera- 
tions. Many of the most striking characters in 
Scottish history were associated with it, some- 
times in a highly romantic manner, lint above 
all, through a fortunate combination of circum- 
stances, the interior of the queer, but stately, old 
Parish Church retains almost all the lofts and seats 
used by the guilds in those far away times. Three 
of the fronts of their galleries, with curiously 
carved oak pilasters and heraldic devices origi- 
nally giided, but at present buried in layers of 
oak graining still exist. On the panels of these, 
under many coats of paint and varnish, have up 
to now been discovered eighteen paintings of the 
insignia and symbols of the guilds. Having been 
employed in the restoration of these, one is forced 
to give an account of the work, if for no other 
pin-pose than to certify its authenticity. And the 
significance of the panels would be lost without 
an acquaintance with the customs of the times in 
which they were produced. With a taste For ori- 
gins, and the interest everyone lias in his native 
place, I have listened to strange stories of these 
parts by the old women and men natives, some of 
whom, over 90 years of age, died twenty or thirty 


years ago. Much of what they told was well 
worth preserving ; and so apart from a debt 
due to the general public, or those interested 
in " Auld Scotland," ecclesiastical antiquities, 
or ancient trade societies, I have come to 
imagine that there is something- I can say 
which the Burntisland people, more particu- 
larly, are entitled to hear. Under this- im- 
pression I have spent much time (when it 
may be my worldly and eternal concerns should 
have seen me otherwise engaged) in trying to 
order and arrange the case of this old burgh, so 
that it could be more fully appreciated. Xo road, 
however toilsome, can be thought of with regret 
if, in the opinion of those qualified to judge, its 
pursuit has led to the desired end. 





Fossil Sigillaria Cinerary Urns Agricola 
Dunearn Roman Pen Diamonds Spa Well 
Horn on Lady's Toe Caledonians Xanie of 
13 unit island. 


Introduction of Burghs Kirk and Tower of 
Kingorn Wester James V.'s New Haven at 
Brint Eland Date of First Royal Charter 
other Charters Dispute about the Castle and 
Sea Mills. 



Early History Abbotshall George Durie, last 
of the Abbots Lines to Rossend Preservation 
of St Margaret's Remains Barony of Burnt- 
island for Sir Robert Melville His Remarkable 
Career His Son '' Lord Bruntyland," First 
Provost, entertains the King Sir James 
AVemyss obtains life peerage with title Lord 
Burntisland Other Proprietors. 




Elections of Magistrates and Officials List of 
Early Provosts and M.P.'s Lous XIV. 's Invas- 
ion The Bailies go to Church Police Bailies 
and Clerk in Tolbooth of Edinburgh Town 
Bankrupt Laws and Prices Sources of Income 
Council Meeting's. 



Perambulating 1 the Marches School Keys and 
Doctor Famous Schoolmasters Poem Old 
Taverns Horse Race -Trips to Parliament, 
&c. Burgess, " Banquet," Bonds, Beggars, 
Plague, Conventicles Lines on Burntisland. 



Provisions and their Prices in 1600 Tweedale's 
Bottlenose Ale-tasters Petition D inner to 
Cockairney Numerous "Statutes" -Banish- 
ment Mulders Heads on Poles Early For- 
tifications Cocquett Seal Burntisland Ships-- 
Imports Exports Coal by Horseback Small 
and Harbour Customs Town's Lands Liabili- 
ties of Inhabitants. 



Streets in 1 GOO Tolbooth as Barracks Bottle of 
Whiskey -Town Clock ' Lord Provost " Re- 
gilds the Dial Bell Market Cross and : House 
of Cun/ie." 




Karly Attacks Forts of 1G27 Privateers Ran- 
-mns Civil AVar Money to Fig-lit the " Irisli 
Rebels" Every Fourth Man Armed Forty- 
nine Cavalry Cowper's Regiment Arrives 
(THUS Unshipped Extended Fortifications 
Dunbar Rout Regiment of Artillery Arrives 
Women Help Xinety Sentries- -Number of 
Forts and Guns. 



Cromwell's Attack by Sea Women at Forts 
Pitreavie Bailie Rent to King- Ironsides 
Arrive Council Confers with Lord " Burnley" 
Oliver Appears Terms of Surrender 'His" 
Pier and Paving His Stay English Garrison 
-Military Rule 205 Militia Town Bom- 
barded by Dutch Castle Cannonaded Cost of 
Evading Service. 



Grant of Kingorn AVester to Dunfermline Abbey 
Bishop de Bernam's Pontifical Bishop of 
Brechin, Rev. Mr Forbes, and Dr Gammock 
Coins at the Kirkton King Alexander III. 
Early Roads. 



Its Design Furnishing- It General Assembly- 
Guild Seats and Insignia Galleries Plan of 


Sitting's Magistrates' Seat Visit of Charles I. 
His Cook Drowned Guild, Heritor and Fam- 
ily Seats Women's Rights Last Supper Table 
Repentance Stool. 



Antiquity ot Trade Unions i Jurat island Guilds 
Markets East Port Halkston of Rathillet 
Crown of the Causeway Monopoly versus Com- 
petition Seals of Cause Munificence of Thos. 
A. Wallace, Esq. Sir R. Rowand Anderson 
Restores the Pillars and Brings the First Panel 
to Light Restoration of the Others. 



The Guildry and Prime Gilt Panels, and names of 

those for whom Restored- -Smiths and Wrights 

M;iM>ii! Shoemaker's Seal of Cause Tailors 

-Weavers and their Box Bakers and Fl esters 

Malt men and Hirers Sabbath-breakers. 



Reformation Gift from King during' General 
Assembly First Minister Banished Covenant 
Minister Deposed Minister Imprisoned 
Conventicles Stipend Spent on Mililia Banner 
Episcopalians Riot in Church Crovvn Pat- 
ronage Religion Riot Minister Secedes The 
Disruption Playing Bools in Church Tieml 
of Fiat Law-breakers and Punishment 
Church Life Witches. 


Cinerary Urn 13 

"Old Ship" Tavern 68 

Tolbooth, 1843 80 

Plan of East Head Forts 102 

Paiins of Lonsdale, Cromwell's House 1.10 

Portion of Canopies or Pulpit - 131 

Ground Plan of Parish Church - 132 

Magistrates' Seat 134 

Ladle for Tokens 145 

Plan of Galleries 148 

PJast Port, 1840 154 

Portion of Guild Council Book - 101 

Guildry Panels - 168 

Six Panels East Sailors' Gallery 170 

Two Panels East Sailors' Gallery 177 

Six Panels in South Sailors' Gallery - 178 
Insignia of the Smiths, Wrights, and 

Masons - 184 

Shoemakers 9 Arms 18!) 

Shoemakers' Seal of Cause 190 

Weavers' Box - - - - 192 



Cinerary urn found in preparing the foundations for t!:cr 
late Dr Landale's house of " The Binn." 

'' When I am dead and in my grave, 
And al) my bom-- are rotten, 
Take up this book and think of me, 
When I am (juite forgotten." 

So runs the old request, couched in rather an 
Irish way. Unnumbered ages ago an eternity 
before the Binn was born, and that's some time 
since a strange tree fell in the sand near which 
it grew, and was covered with blown sand from 
ancient seashore, as the robins buried the 
in the Wood. So undisturbed was it> last 
resting-place, and so gradual its decay, its particles 
filtering- away with the percolation of surface 
\\iiter, and replaced with grains of sand that in 
course of time when the sand solidified nothing 


but the carbonised sculpture of the bark remained. 
A portion of the trunk, 4 feet 6 inches in height 
and 5 feet 5 inches in girth, one of the sigillaria 
beautifully marked with pits for the leaves ar- 
ranged spirally, and with vertical moisture chan- 
nels, is now standing near the entrance to Mr 
Landale's house of " The Binn.". It was not 
found in the adjoining bed of calciferous sand- 
stone, but in the same stratum in a fault at Muir- 
edge. In the latest volcanic period in Scotland 
the forces beneath burst through at Burntisland 
and left this layer of sandstone at an angle of 35 
degrees until it reaches the foot of the east volcanic 
vent of the Binn. Here, on the very lip of this 
old volcano the late Dr Landale felt constrained 
to build him an house, and preparing the founda- 
tions for it in 1866 the workmen disinterred the 
cinerary urn depicted at the head of this chapter. 
It contained fragments of charred bones which are 
still preserved. The height is 15 inches and 
diameter 12i inches. In a collection of these urns, 
in the Antiquarian Museum, Edinburgh, there is 
one found at Ceres very like this, the design round 
the shoulders being the same. Authorities assign 
thes? urns to over 7000 years ago. Xo doubt there 
was a dwelling of some kind beside this place of 
burial, so that even in those days there were people 
with an eye for a good site. Previous to the find- 
ing of this urn, in building Gr?enuiount another 
good site a number of these urns were found 
together. They were much broken in excavating. 


but were given to Mr Paton of Glasgow Museum. 
Slabs of stone had covered the tops, and Miss 
K. J. Kirke, Hilton, thinks there were also some 
flint arrow heads. 1 have seen an old estate map 
on which the place where these were found is 
shown as a conical tumulus, described as such. 
On the same map at the base of the .south side of 
Craigkennochie there is marked " an artificial 
cairn probably a place of sepulture." About 50 
years ago any illness in the neighbourhood of 
Craig-holm was ascribed to the influence of this 
burial place, a spring 1 near here being- much used. 
The tumulus and cairn may be nearly of the same 
period, but of races with different burial customs 
the cairn usually having the stone cist with 
un burned bones. And this is all we know of 
the inhabitants of this corner of Fife in prehistoric 
times. In the beginning of the 19th century, 
when a good deal of re-building- seems to have 
been going on, in West Leven Street and the 
High Street near the Harbour, frequent discovery 
of human l:om>s took place, grim relics, the gossips 
darkly whispered in the ear, of the tragic end of 
some over-rich traveller boastful of his spoils, or 
fierce seanuui in some forgotten brawl. Many 
skeletons were also found at the Lammerlaws, 
supposed by some to be the remains of witches 
burned there, or of soldiers who perished in the 
siege. More likely most of these bones, had their 
discovery li.-en postponed till now, would be nmked 
as prehistoric, from the method of their burial, or 
^he presence of fragment < of <lab, cist, or urn, 


which may not have been observed or not under- 
stood . 

Ages afterwards, yet 1830 years ago, in the 
summer of 83, A.D., the Roman Governor of Brit- 
ain, Agricola,- " sounded the havens and explored 
with his fleet the north side of Bodotria" (the Firth 
of Forth), and, according- to Sir Robert Sibbald's 
reading of Tacitus, " found none so commodious 
for g'reat vessels as that at the town now called 
Bruntelin.'' Sir Robert in a letter to his " Hon- 
oured nephew, Alexander Orrock, laird of Orrock," 
published in his " Roman Ports, Colonies, and 
Forts in the Firth of Forth" (1711), says, speaking 
of Tacitus 1 account of Agricola, his father-in- 
law's sixtli year of administration of Britain, " the 
circumstances of the mountains and woods do 
clearly mark out that it was at Bruntelin and the 
bays near it . . that Agricola landed . . 
from the Binn-encl to King'horne the country ad- 
jacent to the coast has to this day the name of 
the Woods." Sibbald thought it liKely that 

Agricola placed a s-pccu.1<t or Tower where the 
Castle of Bruntelin now stands; this being the 
largest and most convenient port for ships and 
easiest fortified because of the rocks on each side 
of the entry of it : and the rising 1 ground on which 
the Castle now stands was of singular advantage, 
both as a specula for discoverie of enemies and 
invaders, and as a Phorus or height to place night- 
lig-hts on (nitidae sjiecn-hic ea&tillague) for the sea- 
men's better and safer guidance into the harbour." 


Tacitus says that Agricola's fleets were not in- 
tended primarily to land troops, but were used 
mainly to follow, feed, and encourage liis army, 
which recent writers believe would march along 
the coast from Stirling 1 . 

Sir Robert was an eminent physician, naturalist, 
antiquary, and writer, with great powers of ob- 
servation, and visited personally the places he 
describes in his books. His active and enthusi- 
astic nature imbibed eagerly all information bear- 
ing on Roman remains a fascinating fever in his 
day and it is this penchant for old-time wonders 
that we have to keep our weather eye on, and that 
firmly. He proceeds: "This hill here on which 
the Roman Specula stood had an oblong camp 
upon it, with the Praetorium, that is, the Gover- 
nor's Pavilion in the middle square of it, where 
the court of the Castle is now." He describes at 
length the Ca&tilla, -and thinks an assault on it 
by the Caledonians in the preceding winter was 
th? cause of the sixth expedition. Till then there 
had b?en a division of opinion among the Romans 
as to th? advisability of proceeding further north. 

He finds "a vestige" of ;i British Camp on 
Dun-am hill, and " Upon the ascent from the 
Kast . . . there are outer and inn;-r square 
camps with dykes of rough stone about them 
Bavbieri, secretary to Lord Mlgin, in 
his Ilitttn-'n-nl (j<t:cfft'<'r of l'"ifc, also says Dunearn 
" ha- a tort of the I'icts of "Teat strength." [ 
1.1 fill |y visited Dunearn (T'^7 feet), but could not, 


trace the mounds seen by Sir Kobert about 1680. 
It is, however, a weird and awesome scene. The 
greater part of the top is covered deep with thou- 
sands of whin and other hard stones, about the size 
suitable for building 1 dykes. One I observed was 
undoubtedly cut. Were these stones collected In- 
human agency '? It is too high for a terminal 
morain? an accumulation of debris torn from 
the sides of a valley traversed by a glacier and 
dropped at its foot where it ceases to be ice. A 
volcanic vent, in its dying throes these stones may 
be the last material ejected so imperfectly that 
they "fell back and choked the vent. The lake 
is used by the Grange Distillery in the manu- 
facture of the cratur. At the foot of the hill is 
the summer house of James Stewart, the survivor 
in the famous pistol duel between him and Sir 
Alexander Boswell. 

A friend, Mr George Blyth, tells me that when 
a young man he was shooting rabbits at the edgr* 
of the loch, and having wounded one, lie enlarged 
a hole in which it had taken refuge, and dis- 
covered, at a depth of several feet, a curious 
bottle, wrapped in what he describes as burned 
straw, probably straw black with age. It was of 
dark opaque glass, one end cigar-shaped like the 
old style lemonade bottle the "bothimless" sort 
that bothered Handy Andy so much but the neck 
turned at a right angle. The mouth was closed 
with what appeared to be wax or rotten cork. It 
was filled with a dark coloured very sweet wine : 


" On Tmtock tap there is a cup. 
And hi the cup there is a drap." 

The wine was pronounced by a supervisor at the 
Grange to be very fine, and evidently hundreds 
of years old, as there was a deposit of an eighth 
of. an inch oil the inside of the glass. My friend 
has always regretted that the wine was consumed 
and the bottle broken. Dr Anderson of the 
Antiquarian Museum informs me bottles of this 
description were in use in Holland in the 16th 
and 17th centuries. 

Sibbald goes on to give "an account of Orrea" 
(a Roman town in Fife, held by Small in his 
Roman Antiquities to have been at Cupar), "which 
I conjecture stood where the house of Or rock now 
stands : there have been medals found near to it 
. . . a military way passeth close by it called 
the Cross-gate . . . many antique instruments 
and armaments have been found near the Boroughs 
or Tumuli, near to where the Practorum stood 
. . . many rings were found . . . some of 
an inch diameter . . . some the ordinary size 
of a (finger) ring, all these are covered with a 
green crust, so it does not appear what metal they 
are of, some have an aperture in the side . . . 
and .seem to have been used as Fibulae" (brooches). 
On page KS lie gives a drawing of a stylus or 
Roman pen found at Orrock. 

Sir Robert had "a crap for a' corns." He writes 
"The lands of Orrock afford British diamonds of 
various colours, some four, some six-sided, equal 


to the Bristol stones." These "diamonds" were 
rock crystals, and their presence in the vicinity 
no doubt gave rise to the old tale of sailors seeing 
in the night a diamond glittering in the Binn : 

" At lowest ebb yer chafts ye'l lay. 
As laicih's ye icon, to Mary pray, 
Atween the Knaps and Cot-burn-dell, 
Aboon the Green about an ell, 

Ye'l see a ferlie ; 
Whyles blaziii' out a fiery peat, 
Noo glowerin' low as blue's a slate, 
Or flickerin' marlin o' the t\va, 
Syne spluteriu' like a burst-in' ba', 

O' red hot iron ; 

But when the mune her chin has laid, 
Across tihe Bass, she'l quickly fade, 
Wi' swords o' blue, an' spears o' gowd, 
The Binn she'l leave as cau'ld's a shroud, 

And black's a whale." 

Sibbald presses on to mention a "vitriolic spring'' 
at Orrock ; chronicles a hailstorm he experienced, 
in the summer of 1687, at Burnt island, when the 
hailstones were " i an inch in diameter, the 
thickness of a rix dollar, and hexagonal"; and 
expatiates on the wonder of a horn growing out 
of a lady's toe. A dangerous weapon! This vit- 
riolic spring reminds us that there used to be a 
medicinal spring near Alexander's monument, 
called tne Waliacepaw (Well o' the Spa Spa 
well), frequented by the patients of the once fam- 
ous Dr Anderson, physician to Charles I. 

According to Bohn's Tacitus, after Agricola's 
great victory of Mom (r rtn pnx he retired south- 


wards "to the confines of the Horesti" (natives 
of Fife). At the same time liis fleet starting 1 from 
the Forth or Tay circumnavigated Britain, "and 
returned entire to its former station." To Tacitus 
he described Caledonia as covered with forest, and 
the Caledonians as being large limbed, and having 
ruddy hair indicating- a German origin. In 
fig'hting- at Mons Grampus they used chariots and 
horses, the foot being 1 armed with long- swords 
and short targets. 

The derivation of the name Burntisland has 
occasioned some debate. To many it presents no 
difficulty. There's a little island in the liar be ur 
and the rocks look " burnt." This tendency to 
swallow plain English in these latitudes is com- 
mon. Silverbarton, for instance. Sibbald quotes : 
4 Richard, Abbot of Dunfermline, 011 3rd June, 
1458, gave a charter to David, eldest son and heir 
of * William de Orrock, of Silliebabe et Dunhern." 
And Silliebabe it remained till comparatively 
recent times. Then there's Kinghorn King and 
horn. So evident! Yet the word is Kin-gorne, 
pronounced so by the aged natives to this day, 
spelt Kingorn in the 12th century, and undoubt- 

*Members of this ancient family were bailies, tacksnien, 
and litigants in Burnti<sland for hundreds of years. The 
family owned Orrock previous to 1458, over 450 years since. 
I believe the late Captain Orrock, collector of harbour dues, 
was the last of his rnce. I recently saw a title-deed to a 
property of a son of the Robert Orrock hereafter mentioned 
as manager of the harbour works to James V., and whose 
liou-c is given in tine Royal Charter as a landmark. It is 
:iii-i-ribed : " carta Alexander Orrock ib oclana parte Welton, 


etlly a Gaelic word. I have heard a learned 
gentleman lecture publicly that end added to 
Kingswood Kingswoodend, a colloquial phrase 
descriptive of the position of Kingswood in rela- 
tion to Bnrntisland referred to the icud (mad) 
end of Alexander III. Liddall, in liis place- 
names, gives Kinnesswood : Ccann cax dad 
head of the \vaterfall of the wood, an exact de- 
scription of the hill or promontory at Kingswood. 
Before Kingswood house was constructed there was 
a fine waterfall, now intercepted to feed a minia- 
ture lake about 40 feet up. Pettycur has been 
Frenchified as well as Englified. The Petit corps 
is said to have given the name in the time of 
Mary of Guise. Bleau spells it in his map of 
1662 Pretticur. Sibbald writes it Prettie Knr. 
Petioker appears in a charter of David I., and I 
came across it frequently in the chartulaiy of 
Dunfermline associated with King-horn. The 
neighbourhood is studded with old Gaelic names 
beginning with pit. A few miles away are the 
two farms of Piteuchar, written in Gordon's map 
of 1645 Pittvochar. 

alias overgrange il Kinghorne Wester 1594." Visiting 
Orrock lately to see about the "diamonds," and Caledonian 
and Roman antiquities reported by Sibbald, I found the farm- 
house modern, but the lintel of the door of the old house has 
been preserved and inserted in the north wall. It bears the 
inscription " 1678, A.O., E.W. A.O., S.M., with a Latin 
motto, part of which is Christ us men. Alexander Orrock 
had been twice married. The family vault is here, but its 
exiiet position is unknown. There were no diamond's to be 
seen, but I passed a very attractive young lady with a Roman 


Sibbald refers to the legendary burning- of 
fishermen's huts on the island, and a supposed 
attempt of the Romans to destroy the town by 
fire, and quotes the lines of a "native poet" : 

" Brave ancient isle, thy praise if I should sing, 
The habitation of a Pictish King, 
Dreftus, who made against the Roman strokes, 
Forth's snakie arms thee to enclose with rocks, 
They often pressed to vanquish thee with fire, 
As Macedon did the sea embordering Tyre, 
But thou did'st .'-corn Rome's captive for to be, 
And kept thyself from Roman legions free." 

Sibbald says " Brintlandt" is a place-name in 
Denmark, but his pet theory is that "clot in the 
old language signifies a bay bowed like the flexure 
of the elbow, and brunt, in the Gothic tongue, a 
fire burning that is the Roman night light on 
the tower at the harbour." The name often occurs 
without the d in early Council records Brintihm 
and Brint Ilun and in this form is very like the 
sound given to it by old resident ers now. It is 
written variously in the early Council Records and 
Exchequer Rolls:" Ye *lirint Eland" and " Ye 
said Hand" (1040), "Ye Brynt Yland" (154G), 
" lirint Hand" (1592) " Brintiland" (1592). At 
first sight these seem proof positive that the name 

*The // in ye is waid by students to be the Anglo-Saxon 
letter tliarn, the .sound of which was that given by us to f/i. 
Ye thin was pronounced the. In the records in Kill them i.s 
spelled i/a inf. I prefer an explanation less " learned." For 
a long period in the Council Records f/ie looks like ti/f. At 
this time the loop of the h was inverted and below the lino. 
Examples of this appear in my facsimile of the cordiner's 
-i ill of (Miis- in another chapter. In course of time the t 
wa definitely dropped, leaving ye. 


was derived from " Burned" and " Island." But 
the name existed previous to 1540 in the form 
Bertiland, probably pronounced Bert ilund. The 
names given above, written by Edinburgh clerks 
under the growing influence of English, were 
headings to accounts of the harbour works, which 
involved what we call the green island at both 
ends, and with this in their mind it was easy to 
change Bert ilund into Brint Hand. Spee:l shows 
that, in 1506 when the town was a Burgh of 
Regality under the monks of Dunfermline, the 
name was Byrtiland, and it is Byrtiland in the 
second Burgh Charter of 1585. Fernie, who had 
powers, quoting an old document, spells it Berti- 
land. Miss Blackie in her Etymological Geo- 
graphy gives Bertiland as the earliest form, and 
considers it of Scandinavian origin. The harbour 
would be useful for those robber Danes. ' Ye 
said Hand " is very misleading. It is common 
in Fife to prefix the definite article to the name of 
a place: The Raith, the Kettle, the Methil, the 
Elie, and even to leave out a portion of the name, 
as "the Dour" for Aberdour, "the Horn" for 
Kinghorn ' 

In 1538, in the Chartulary of Dunfermline, there 
is a grant of the fort of Wester Kingorn and the 
lands of ' Erefland and Cunyingayrland " ad- 
jacent to it. Eref may be the Gaelic; <<(/ gentle 
or quiet water, and elin a bay or haven. Cunning- 
ayrland has been thought to mean rabbit warren 
(cony, a rabbit). It may be a form of Erenand 


adapted to an adjoining- portion of land at the 
harbour Cyning (a King) arland (Erefland con- 
tracted a haven) Kings Haven. 



James Speed, one time Provost of Burnt island, 
who died 1867, states in his unpublished notes 
relating to the Royal Burgh of Burntisland, chiefly 
compiled from the Burgh Records, that "during 
the 12th century the inhabitants of certain towns 
were endowed by the Kings of Scotland with im- 
portant municipal privileges, constituting these 
places Free Royal Burghs. The number of such 
towns at tlie end of that century was about 
eighteen; at the Union sixty-six . . . On the 
introduction of the feudal system into Scotland, 
each Royal Burgh came to be considered a vassal 
of the Crown. The community was authorised to 
administer justice, and to manage the common 
property. The permanent inhabitants were all 
freemen. These Burghs were the only places in 
Scotland where the lower classes of the people had 
anything approaching civil liberty, or where trade 
or the industrial arts could be prosecuted withou 1 
being subject to the capricious interference of the 
higher nobles. Deriving their immunities from 
the Sovereign, the Burgesses were generally dis- 
po>ed to protect him from the aggressions of the 


nobles or the Church. The Magistrates were 
judges in all civil causes, and in criminal causes 
except the four pleas of the Crown." These were 
murder, robbery, rape, and wilful fire-raising; all 
punishable by death. I would like to know how 
local authorities came to try for witchcraft, and 
on conviction to carry out the death sentence. 

There were other classes of burghs. Baron 
Burghs and Burghs of Regality. The latter were 
instituted with permission of the Crown by mon- 
asteries on lands belonging to them, and the Abbot 
had the power of life and death in his Court of 
Regality, a power, as we have seen, not given to 
Burgh Courts. Burntisland existed as a Burgh of 
Regality in the name, as we have seen, of Ber- 
tiland or Byrtiland as early as 1506 under Dun- 
fermline Abbey and probably long before, and 
after it had been proclaimed a Royal Burgh it 
reverted to a Burgh of Regality in 1574. 

Though the name of the parish in which Burnt- 
island lay was in the 12th century Kingorn, and 
gave to the Kirkton church the name of the " Kirk 
of Kinghorne Wester," and to the Castle the 
' Tower of Kinghorne Wester" names which 
stuck to them for centuries it is clear from the 
defensive tower being at the harbour, the town 
there being a Burgh of Regality with the dis- 
tinctive name of Bertiland ; and that James V. 
gave his charter as a reward to the inhabitants 
for "gratuitous services rendered to him and his 


predecessors, Kings of Scotland" ; that the town 
was important compared with the Kirkton. The 
most of the early history we have we owe to church 
documents, and naturally these are strongly ftav- 
voured with purely ecclesiastical nomenclature. 
Mr D. J. Balfour Kirke, Greenmount, in a recent 
lecture " Burnt island in 1511" rich in histori- 
cal details and imagery, showed that on the testing- 
of the Great Michael, King- -James IV. came from 
Falkland to meet his Admiral, " Schir Andrew 
Wood," who had a house at Burntisland, believed 
to be 34 Hig'h Street, and boarded the " Create 
schip" in the loadstead of Burntisland (Portus. 

Tlie first mention of the name Burntisland in 
ancient documents, which I have seen with my 
own eyes, appears in the Exchequer Rolls, when 
under date 1540 and the significant heading 1 " The 
Xew Haven," there is a long 1 list of monies paid 
to " Kobert Orrock, maister of the work of the 
Brint Eland . . . for ty miner, irn, and making- 
the stane boit" (boat or butt) Dry Dock "of the 
said Hand." In this year King 1 James V. made 
a tour of the Isles with 12 ships from the Firth of 
Forth. It is evident from this extract that the 
work must have been going 1 on for some time, and 
that it was of a national character, of which addi- 
tional proof is found in a petition from the Town 
Council in 1664 in which they specify the "peirs 
and bulwarks of the harbour which were erected 
be King 1 James the Fyft of blessed memory." In 


1541 occurs the item "the xxx day of April gevin 
for aiie bote's franc-lit frae the Brintelind to Leitht 
with twa gunnis Xs." In 1542 the accounts of 
the Lord High Treasurer show the expenses of the 
" wark at the Brintiluiid and the King's grace 
schippis" ; the materials and prices for building 
these; and on one occasion, as an example ot many, 
ihe money "gevin to Robert Orrock for paying of 
the workmen's wag'eis wirkaiid at the Brint Hand, 
and for irne hoc lit be him thairto frae the first day 
of September last bipast to the xxix day of Julie 
instant as his buke of conipt beris ijt xlv 11. xix*" 
245 19s. From other entries the ships appear 
to have had the finishing 1 touches put on them at 

Thus in 1540 there were being built at Burnt- 
island for King James V. piers, bulwarks, a grav- 
ing dock, and ships. Many other entries show 
that from this time for many years Burntisland 
was used as a naval base: the enemy would call it 
a pirate stronghold. Shipowners were encouraged 
to arm their vessels, and on returning with booty 
received a goodly share of the spoils. One or two 
extracts from the Exchequer Rolls to show this : 
In 1545, " item. To James Lindsay, masor, quha 
at commands of the Lords of Counsal past to Brint 
Eland and thair arreistit (for valuation purposes) 
the Inglische schip tane in Flanders x.s\" In the 
same year " item, to ane boy that cam frae the 
Capitane of the Lyon advertising that the marin- 
aris and tymmar wry c- lit is wuld be gotten in the 


Brunt Eland." In 1549 send to the Brynt Yland to 
arrest the prysis broucht in be Hannis Fairlankis 
schip laidint witht leid and tyn." Some time pre- 
vious other two prizes (French) had been brought 
in. In educating its citizens in this privateering-, 
Burnt island could expect nothing- but a " looking- 
for of judgement." Habit becomes second nature. 
In 1573 " Capitane Halkerstone . . . Mat hew 
Sinclair and thair complices tuke ane schip furth 
of the havin of Brint Hand . . . and spullyeit 
the greittast part of our Sdveraine Lordis Isles." 
Although the originator of this activity was 
dead within g two short years after granting 
his charter, it continued, though in fits and 
starts, and frequent opposition. Speed gives 
the date of the first Royal Charter as 1541, 
following perhaps the note on a flyleaf of 
one of the old minute-books, which runs as 
follows: "Charter granted be K. James the 5th 
beares no yther dait hot that it is given at 
Linlithgow the 28 year of K. J. his regne." That 
is 1541. I fin-1, however, that the year was 1540, 
as the following entry in the 1 Exchequer Kolls fcr 
that year shows: " item, the viij day of Februar 
deliverit to the Laird of Sillebawbe" (Robert 
Orrnck.) "to give to the convent of Dunferniling 
for seling of th? charter of Brint Kland xxxiij /." 

The town was proclaimed as a Royal Burgh with 
the customary solemnities in 1508, but the charier 
had never been submitted to Parliament, and this 
gave the convent at !)un lennline grounds for in- 


terference. James V. had given them lands else- 
where in exchange for the port and six acres of 
land, the boundaries of which began at the half- 
moon eastwards across the ridges of East and 
West Broomhill and Craig-kennochie to the Baths. 
This was more than six acres, and it is thought 
that " it was on account of this excess that the 
Earls of Tweedale, as succeeding to the rights of 
the Abbey claimed the right to exact a tax called 
Burgh Mail." In 1688 the Earl tried to obtain 
from the town 550. The commendator of Ihm- 
fermline when the town was proclaimed a Royal 
Burgh was Lord Robert Pitcairn, an able man 
and full of wiles. In 1570 he was Secretary of 
State to James VI., yet was one of those who 
arrested him at Ruthven Castle in 1582, and was 
banished for this. In 1574 with an admirable 
audacity he re-erected the town into a Burgh of 
Regality at the instigation of Sir Robert Melville, 
who is supposed to have been trying to improve his 
position at the Castle, or make clear his existing 
rights there. However, a new Royal Charter was 
obtained, and confirmed by Act of Parliament in 
1585, which set forth that " King James the VI. 
having found that his ancestor King James the 
fifth as a reward for the gratuitous services ren- 
dered to him and his predecessors Kings of Scot- 
land by the inhabitants of Byrtiland " since its 
erection into a g-reat civil community, and to en- 
oura#e them to go forward in prosecuting trade 
and navig-ation, had at great expense constructed 


the port culled the Port of Grace,* and disposed 
it and the lands adjoining 1 thereto, acquired from 
the monks and abbots of Dunfermline, to the 
Provost, Baillies, Council and community thereof 
. . . renews and confirms the said charter. The 
dispute, nevertheless, continued between the Burgh 
and the Abbey, or Sir Robert Melville, whose aim 
was to obtain possession of the ground between his 
Castle wall and the harbour, so as to block up the 
Burgh's access to the Island and West Head, and 
to force the inhabitants to have their meal ground 
and their wood sawn at the Sea Mills. fThe meal 
mill is still standing. The saw mill appears 011 a 
map in my possession dated 1843. These mills 
were driven by water wheels moved by the exit 
of the tide which was collected in a dam at one 
time extending to the road crossing to the Ivirk- 
ton. "What the exact legal merits of the Mills 
dispute were cannot now be determined. 

In 1599 Sir George Home, afterwards Earl of 
Berwick, " was asked to accept the office of Provost 

*/'// MX Grti1iu*~ti haven for which one .should be thank- 
ful. The port was also called Portu* tfalutu* a safe haven. 
The late Marquis of Bute writes as if he thought these names 
ha<l been given by the Romans. 

tWilliaun Wilson, a native of Burntisland, a blacksmith 
with a laudable ambition, author of a volume of poetry, en- 
titled " Echoes of the Anvil," has some pieces which apply 
locally. One of these, " To One in the Silent Land " (lii- 
mother), i.s very good. Here is one verse from his " Castle 

" Awa' frap the mills frae the world and its folly. 
Awa' frae our friends and cronies sae fain, 
Awa' to t'.ie land that is sinless and holy, 
To meet the long lost and be happy again." 


so that his influence at Court might protect the 
town from the pretensions of the Melvilles." He 
was elected and remained Provost till 1610, with 
the exception of one year, 1604-5, when Sir Robert 
Melville, younger, who had been Provost before 
1599, managed to get re-elected. But the battle 
of the Castle or that of the Mills had " none end 
at all." After every desperate bout, nothing- near 
fatal, the opponents, like the wife " of the same 
opinion still," took a rest and went at it again. 
In 1632 the Town made a new move. The Council 
applied to the " Viscount Stirling" to procure a 
new " Royal Charter, all swearing by the exten- 
sion of the right hand" to keep the matter secret. 
In 1633 the new charter was sent down from 
London to be sealed, but it was then discovered 
that Sir Robert was entitled to see it before the 
sealing. He of course raised objections to its 
terms, but it was confirmed by Act of Parliament 
2nd July, 1633. Acts of Parliament are only 
made to be broken : the dispute went on as before. 
A solution hove in sight for a moment in 16-V) 
when the " Sea Milnes" were to be sold. Th? 
Council met hurriedly and decided to buy them, 
but no bargain was struck. In 1670 Peter AValker 
proposes to build the town " a milne driven by 
horses." The Countess of Wemyss hears of this, 
and reasserts the Castle's rights to saw the wood 
and grind the town's meal. In 1683, after a naj> 
of 13 years unlucky number the Council gives 
much favour to what seems a brilliant idea a 


corn miliie driven by wind on the Lammerlaws. 
After an unprecedented spate of law, this too blows 
over, when it is once again decided (1692) that 
"the inhabitants are adstricted to the Sea Milnes" 
of the Countess of AYemyss. But the Burntislaml- 
ers would not take it lying down. The blood of 
the inveterate and obdurate Celt flowed in their 
veins (though curiously enough you will read the 
Council Records of the first 270 years and find 
barely a single clan name). To us it seems a mere 
hopeless habit, like the fluttering of a bird on the 
wires of its cage. In 1712 an act of Parliament 
was procured thirling the inaltmen and brewers, 
2-3 in number, to the town's "new steel milnes" 
built in 1711, situated in the gardens behind 72 
or 74 High Street. Up pops again that hated 
Jack in the Box, the proprietor of the Sea Mills, 
then the Earl of "Wemyss, who restates his right 
of thirlage. After more torrents of law it was 
determined to try arbitration, with the result that 
the inhabitants are ordained to return to the Sea 
Mills. Even in 1849, in spite of the passing of 
th? Burgh Reform Act, the claims of the Castle 
appeared to be still maintained, as I have seen a 
letter from a James Morrison strongly advising the 
Council to drop some mill scheme they had in 
hand on account of its history and their having no 
legal justification. 

Along with this dispute went that of the boun- 
dary of the Castle. The friction was constant with 
Sir Robert Melville, but unlike the case of the 


Mills, the town was always successful in prevent- 
ing the persistent efforts to encroach on their 
inarch. It is pleasing' to record that after one of 
these attempts of Sir Robert's, the Council sent 
asking him to allow them to meet him at the 
Castle gate to accompany him to the kirk. This 
he agreed to ; and after many another tussle when 
Lord Melville for he succeeded his father in 
this title died, the Council attended his funeral 
to Monimail in a body, and expressed in a minute 
their feeling that they had lost a true friend. But 
the hatchet was unburied. One case in 1705 was 
serious. The tenant of the Castle, Colin Mac- 
kenzie (we were having an anterin Highlander by 
then) clandestinely managed to have a wall partly 
built before the Council observed him. Even till 
1873, when the Council purchased the Castle, and 
re-sold it with new titles to the late James 
Shepherd, Esq., did this controversy of 300 years 




The late Mr W. A. Laurie, W.S., Keeper of 
H.M. Gazette for Scotland, proprietor of Burnt- 
island Castle for many years previous to 1872, had 
ample opportunity and an ardent desire to clear 
up its early history. Mrs Laurie has told me that 
the entrance gate was built by him, and is a replica 
of one in York which he pointed out to her. In 
inscribing; 1119 (similar to that in the Castle) oil 
one of the shields above the gate 'he had satisfied 
himself that a tower (I have no doubt the present 
square tower portion of the Castle) existed at that 
date. The tower portion is stated by various 
writers as being mentioned in the time of Robert, 
the first of the Stuarts (Blear Eye), 1382, when it 
was called the tower of Kingorne Wester, and was 
occupied by the Buries of Durie. Mackie, author 
of " Castles, Prisons, and Palaces of Mary of Scot- 
land," visited the Castle about 1840, and origi- 
nated the statement that the Duries built the north 
and west wings. He says, " Over the principal 
entrance the arms of the Duries are inserted under 
a Gothic canopy supported by two savages girded 
with laurels." The arms of the Duries consisted 
of a shield bearing a chevron between three 
crescents, ami may be seen on the Abbot's seal of 
George Durie in Chalmers' " History of Dun- 


fermline." Neither this design nor the savages 
can be found at the Castle. In tlie vestibule, 
which might be described as Gothic, are three 
Coats of Anns one bearing' the date 1119, another 
1382, while the third has the initials M.R., and 
the date 1563, the year of Queen Mary's visit. 
The execution of these might be early 17th 

Mackie also states that the Castle had been 
anciently known as "The Abbot's Hall." Con- 
sidering' the history of the Castle one would think 
this an appropriate name and one very likely to 
be used. But a recent writer questions this, and 
has tried to show that this name was a monopoly 
of Abbotshall, Kirkcaldy, where the monks had 
another residence. In Volume III. of the Memoirs 
of the Mehilles, by Sir William Eraser, K.C.B., 
LL.D., I find a grant (1586) to Sir Robert Melville 
from Patrick, Master of Gray, oommendator of 
Dnnfermiine, of which the following is an extract : 
'The porte and hevin callit the hevin of 
Brintiland lyand contigue with the landis of 
Wester Kingorne . t . . all and haill the stane 
lions, toure, and fortalice, sum tyine callit the 
Abbotis Hall." So that settles that. 

The tirst proprietor of the Castle of whom much 
is known was George Durye, Abbot and Com- 
mendator of Dunfemaline. He was Abbot from 
1539 to 1564, though he had acted as Abbot 
1530 1538 in room of the Abbot of these years, 
Tames Beton. He was the last of the Abbots, the 


so-called Abbots succeeding; him Robert Pitcairn ; 
Patrick, Master of Gray ; and George Gordon, 
Earl of Huntly being 1 Coinmeudators only. The 
last-mentioned was the instigator of the murder 
of the Earl of Moray at Donibristle. It was this 
George Durie who in 1538 gave to Peter Durie 
"our lands of Xether Grange called le mains," 
probably foreseeing the dangerous character of the 
reform movement. From this time till the Refor- 
mation the lands of the monasteries all over Scot- 
land were in this way being handed over to friends. 
We may conclude, however, from the history of 
Queen Margaret's relics that the Abbot retained 
some right of access to the Castle. This Abbot 
was very xealous against the reformers, having 
voted for the death of Patrick Hamilton and 
Walter Mill. He Is credited by Knox with the 
death of Sir John Melville of Raith, who, in the 
minority of Mary (1549), is said to have obtained a 
grant of the Castle. This alone would account 
for Durie's enmity. Knox writes in his " Historic 
of the Reformation" : " But however it was, the 
cruel beast, the Bishop of St Andrews, and the 
Abbot of Dunfermline (Durie) ceased not until the 
head of that noble man (Sir John Melville) was 
stricken from him." For such services it may be, 
but more probably for his preservation of St 
Margaret's remains, this Abbot's name two years 
after his death was added to the roll of saints of 
the Roman Church. The Rev. Peter Chalmers, 
in his "History of Dunfermline." writes: "It 


does not appear that purity of morals was one of 
bis claims to saintship, as lie had two natural 
children legitimated on 30th September, 1543." 
This account has been accepted as correct by the 
Rev. Mr Campbell of Kirkcaldy and others. 
However, Chalmers himself shows, in his second 
vohirue, page 399, that Durie's house of Craig- 
luscar was built by him in 1520, and that he may 
have been married before he became a priest, 
which was not till 1530, as a memorial stone has 
ben found in the ruins with the date 1520, the 
arms of the Duries, and the conjoined initials 
G.D. M.B. The latter may have been his wife, 
and the children mentioned above hers. This 
legitimating may have been a matter of church 
law rather than morality. " But however it was," 
as John Knox would say, we are indebted to 
George Dury that the story of the Castle affording 
sanctuary to the remains of the sainted Margaret 
cannot be dismissed as a mere tradition. 

" There's Ro&send's venerable keep, 
Sheltered awhile Saint Margaret's bier, 
Five hundred spiyngs have bitten deep, 
Her grisly fort and dungeons drear. 

In ancient feuds a sentinel, 

In later years a snug retreat, 

For Abbot fat, whose bead and bell 

Made penance glum for wine and meat." 

The following' account of the part played by 
Durie in the preservation of Rt Margaret's relics 
is condensed from Chalmers' version of " J.R.'s" 


translation of the " Life of St Margaret, " printed 
at Douay, 1660: "It is told that Alexander 
III., after the death of his own Queen Margaret, 
took pains to collect and preserve the remains of 
St Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore, by en- 
closing the bones in a silver chest enriched with 
precious stones, which during the tumults of the 
Reformation was taken for safety from the noblest 
part of the Abbey of Dunfermline, where it rested, 
to Edinburgh Castle. When the heretics had 
trampled under foot all humane and divine laws 
and seized the sacred inoveables of the church 
some things of greater veneration were 
saved from their sacriligious hands and transported 
into the Castle of Edinburgh." But " some more 
provident fearing these mad men might assault 
the Castle transported the coffre, wherein was the 
head and hair of St Margaret, and some other 
moveables of great value, into the Castle of the 
Baron of Dury. This lord of Durie was a reverend 
father, priest, and monk of Dunfermline, who, 
after his monastery was pillaged and the religkms 
forced to fly, dwelt in the Castle." Dunfermline 
Abbey was almost destroyed by the mob, instigated 
by the landless nobles, on 28th March, 1 ">(>(). 
Father Durie had a house on Craigluscar Hill, 
Dunfermline, as well as Burntisland Castle, but 
it is unlikely the relics would be taken back again 
to Dunfermline, at least at that troublous time. 
A seaport was safer both for the relics and the 
Abbot. Chalmers, Vol. II., page 177, agrees with 


this view. How long the silver chest remained 
hidden in the Abbot's Castle cannot be known, but 
in 1597 (33 years after Durie's death) "the relics 
were delivered into the hands of the Society of 
Jesus, missioners in Scotland," who took them to 
Antwerp. Lastly, onr holy Father Pope Innocent 
the Tenth, in the first year of his Pontificate 
gave plenary indulgence to the faithful who 
prayed before the relics in the Chapel of the 
Scotch Collegs of Douay, on the 10th of June, 
festival of this holy Princess." The relics were 
removed from the College at the French Revo- 
lution to Venice, whence they were brought to the 
Escurial, where they still were in 1854, according 
to reports submitted to the Rev. C. Holahan, at 
that time sub-Prior of Douay. 

The Rev. Father Durie was still Abbot of Duii- 
fermline on the visit of Queen Mary to the Castle, 
and though grants of the Castle are said to have 
ben made by the reformers to their friends, I 
question if Durie had been ejected. In the 
absence of proof to the contrary, I believe it was 
he who entertained the Queen when she passed 
the night of the 14th or 15th February, 1563, at 
the Castle. If so, we may be sure the vigilantly 
guarded relics of Saint Margaret would be shown 
to Queen Mary. It was on this night that the 
romantic and love-sick Chastellard, according to 
Sheriff MacKay, "committed the fault or crime 
for which he paid the forfeit of his life." Chas- 
tellard was one of the brilliant suite of Marv on 


her return from France, and came of a good 
French family, being- "a grandnephew of Bayard 
the Chevalier, sans peur ct xanx reprochc. ' He 
spoke and wrote both prose and verse and was 
skilled in arms and dancing. He returned to 
France, but could not rest, and came back to 
Edinburgh in 1562. Mary was, according to 
Knox, " over-gracious to the young Cavalier 
danced with him in preference to the nobles and 
exchanged sonnets with him. On the 12th of 
February, 1563, Chastellard hid himself in the 
Queen's lioom at Holy rood. He was pardoned, 
but followed the Queen on her journey to St 
Andrews. She slept one night at Dunfermline 
and the next at Burntisland, when Chastellard 
was again found in her room." This second 
offence could not be overlooked, and he was tried 
and executed at St Andrews, 22nd February. 
'* His last words were the passionate cry, Adieu! 
most beautiful and cruel princess of the world. "' 

As we have seen, Sir John Melville, of Raith, 
is said to have received a grant of the Castle in 

'Chastellard is to have gained access by a .secret stair 
leading to the beach. An issue on this frequented beacli 
could not be secret. Mr Forbes, of the Oil Cake Co.'.s works, 
teJl.s me that in strengthening the foundations of the works, 
about 12 years ago, at a depth of 6 feet an arched passage of 
brick about 4 feet high was broken into. It was examined 
for a few yards in the direction of the Castle gate, but the 
difficulty of keeping the candle lit in the impure air obliged 
the explorer to return. He found a hamper which could not 
be removed, as it fell to dust in his hands. The walls (part 
the old Sugar House) had, apparently before the sugar in- 
dustry, been an important residence. The walls are at one 
place f> feet thick, and there are two large wells. In the 


1549. As that is the year of his execution lie 
could barely have entered into possession. I came 
across an interesting- fact in reading Eraser's,, 
memoirs of the Melvilles. Sir John, when 
arrested, was riding 1 on " Clayness sands, near 
Burntisland." This was the ancient name of these 
sands, the Lanirnerlaws being- known then as the 
Clayness. As is to be shown in another chapter, 
there are grounds for the statement that Sir 
"William Kirkcaldy, of Grang-e, was g-iven a grant 
of the Castle, for some short period, possibly 
between 1564 and 1571. After his execution it 
appears to revert to the Melvilles. These grants 
from Sir .John's time were promised or made, but 
in those days possession was nine points of the 
law. The influence of Mary of Guise, and the 
continued efforts to resuscitate Roman Catholicism 
in Mary's reig-n, makes one doubt if any of the 
Melvilles until about 1580 were ever in occupancy. 
A. H. Millar, in his book on Fife, says, " After 
the forfeiture of Sir Robert Melville in 1571 the 

back wall, facing north, at a lieigiht of 13 feet is the lintel 
of a large door, with the inscription 




This might easily have been its original height, as the ground 
formerly rose behind this wall. The wall is arched over one 
of the wells, which would point to the existence of the well 
outside the wall of an earlier and smaller house previous to 
1616, from which the secret passage may date. If this house 
was in the control of the Castle and the passage begins in 
its grounds and endts inside this house, it would be an ideal 
secret passage. The stair leading from a trap clcor in Queen 
Mary's room ends in what is now the scullery. 


Kiu<>- granted the property to David Durie." If 
this is correct and it is likely, as Melville's be- 
haviour at this time did not please the reformers 
then he must have claimed the castle previous to 
1571. The Kind's object in granting the Castle to 
David Durie may be conjectured. It would be 
easier to deal with the unpopular monk or his rela- 
tives than with a noble taking the popular side. 
James had an eye on the lands belonging to the 
Abbey for himself, and on the annexation to the 
crown in 1587 of properties which had belonged to 
the Roman Catholic Church, those belonging to 
the Dunfermline Abbey were exempted. These 
extensive lands were given as a marriage dowry to 
his Queen, Anne of Denmark, except the Baronies 
of Newburn and Burntisland. That the commen- 
dator of Dunfermline, Lord Pitcairn, re-erected 
the burgh into one of Regality in 1574, and that 
his successor, Patrick, Master of Gray, granted the 
castle to Sir Robert Melville in 1586, showed the 
church had still to be reckoned with. " Sir 
Robert Melville of Murdocarnie," however, ap- 
pears as proprietor the previous year (1585) when 
he objects to the new Royal Charter of that year 
as interfering witli the bounds of the Castle. It 
was this gentleman, then plain Robert Melville, 
who, according to Tytler, "went to the Capital to 
get for the reformers 8000 men and some war 
vessels for the Firth," and who, though thus 
recognised as a leading reformer, on one of his 
visits to Queen Mary imprisoned at Loch Leven, 


dropped from his scabbard a letter for Mary from 
Lethington. He is said to liave advised Mary to 
.sign her resignation in favour of her son, arguing' 
that being forced from her it would not hold good 
if she were free. He was with the Queen, at the 
battle of Langside,- and in Edinburgh Castle with 
Kirkcaldy of Grange during its siege on her 
behalf. He had been ambassador to England in 
1562, and in 1586 (now as Sir Robert Melville) he 
is again ambassador, along with Patrick, Master 
of Gray, to intercede with Queen Elizabeth for the 
life of Mary. On King James refusing to receive 
Elizabeth's apologetic letter on the execution of 
his mother, Sir Robert was sent to stop her 
ambassador at Berwick. When in England, he 
had been sounded by Elizabeth as to the possibility 
of obtaining the person of King James, and had, 
on his return, communicated this design to the 
King. In the absence of the King in Denmark, 
when he went to bring home his Queen, Sir Robert 
acted as Chancellor of Scotland. It was on 
account of his many services that the King erected 
part of the church land retained for himself into 
the " Barony of Burntisland for Sir Robert 
Melville" (Privy Council Records.) Eraser 
describes the Barony as consisting of Balbie, Over 
Kiiigborn, Welton, Orrock, and Burntisland 
Castle, the superiority of the same, and advowson 
(patronage) of the Kirk of King-horn Wester." 
The King could not give Sir Robert the Royal 
Burgh, but he gave him the office of Customs 


Receiver at the port. Sir Robert was elevated to 
the peerage in 1616 as Baron Melville of Monimai] 
(ancestor of the Earls of Leveii and Melville), and 
died in 1621 at the age of 94. 

Though thrice married. Lord Melville had only 
one son, " Sir Robert Melville, Youngare." 
Fraser cannot say when, or on what account he 
was knighted, but when in 1587 the Barony wan 
erected for his father, the father resigned it, and 
with the consent of the King- it was ratified in the 
son's name. He got into trouble in 1500 for 
refusing to apprehend a prominent Jesuit, James 
Gordon, who had taken refuge in Burntisland. 
In the earliest existing Council Records of Burnt- 
island lie appears as Provost. He was one of those 
who cunningly devised the (Marian tumult of 
December 1596, and he gave refuge in the Castle 
to Francis Moubray, of Barnbougle, until he left 
the country. In 1601 he was constituted an 
Extraordinary Lord of Session, using the law title, 
Lord Burntisland. (He is styled " flruntyland" 
in the Privy Council Records.) 

The King had been in Bnrntisland Castle after 
the Falkland raid; lie visited Sir Robert at the 
Ca.stle in 1593, remaining several days, and doubt- 
less slept at the Ca.stle on the occasion of the Gene- 
ral Assembly in 1601. On the death of Elizabeth, 
Sir Robert followed the" King to London, and 
remained with him for some years. (Eraser's 
Memoirs.) It is natural, therefore, that when, 


in 161 T, King' James made his first visit to Scot- 
land as King 1 of Great Britain, a "missive" should 
be dispatched to " Sir Robert Melville to mak his 
house of Bruntyland patent for His Majestie's 
resset." (Privy Council Records.) The route >is 
given as " Leith and Bruntyland," and a list of 
the farmers is given, with the number of their 
horses, and directions for the renovations of roads. 

One would have thought the frequent visits of 
James would have had an influence on the char- 
acter of his liegemen in Burntisland. They dis- 
sembled their love. The special bete noir of James 
was tobacco. He hated it so that he must needs 
publish his " Counterblaste to Tobacco," in which 
he describes it as "a custom loathsome to the eye, 
hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dauger- 
ous to the lung-s, etc.", yet, in 1637, for selling 
tobacco without a license, 14 inhabitants of Burnt- 
island were summoned to appear at the Court at 
Edinburgh, and in their absence (most wicked 
persons all) were fined 100 merks each. Xo 
wonder Providence, as well as King- James, 
occasionally visited Burnt-island. Speed says Sir 
Robert (Lord Melville after 1621) remained Provost 
till his death in 1635. (The minutes applicable to 
Speed 1613 to 1636 are now absent.) 

The following year (1636) Sir James Melville, 
of Halhill, "was retoured heir of line to his cousin 
Robert, second Lord Melville, in the lands of 
Xether-Grange, or Mains of Wester Kinghorne, 
the Castle of Burntisland, and the Mills called the 


Seamills," etc. In 1638 lie received a Crown 
confirmation of these ratified by Parliament. 
There was opposition from the bailies of Burnt- 
island, but he denied that he wanted any of the 
Port privileges. Speed refers to this gentleman 
as Sir William Melville, of Halhill and Burnt- 
island Castle, and says he succeeded his father in 
Provostship. Must be a slip of the pen. Eraser 
does not say when Sir James died, but he was 
succeeded by his son, also Sir James Melville, of 
Halhill, who may not, however, have had all the 
lands of the Barony. This Sir James would 
probably be proprietor of the Castle during- its 
occupation as the headquarters of Cromwell's 
troops. At this time, in 1604, a curious thing- 
happened in one of their raids. The young- Lord 
Melville, of Monimail, cousin of Sir James, was 
seixed while riding 1 near St Andrews and broug-ht 
prisoner to the Castle. On Sir James' death in 
1664, Eraser says the Barony was sold to " General 
James Wemyss." The Countess of Wemyss ap- 
pears, from the Council Records, to have had some 
interest in the Castle as early as 1655, previous to 
the death of Sir James Melville. M. F. Conally 
states that Sir James Wemyss, of Caskieberry, 
became proprietor of the Castle in 1666. He 
married Lady Margaret, Countess of Wemyss in 
her own right, and was in 1672 created a peer for 
life, with the title, Lord Burntisland. His patent 
appears in the Privy Council Records. He is 
referred to in the Council Records, in 1673, as the 


Earl of AVemyss, I suppose on account of liis being 
married to the Countess, and speaks then of an 
agreement with Sir James Melville apparently a 
third Sir James. The Countess's name occurs for 
a good many years. In 1712 it is the Earl of 
AVemyss, but he appears to have made over the 
Castle without the Mills, perhaps only on lease, to 
Colin Macken/ie from 1705. 

The writer of an article in the Fifeshire 
Advertiser of 1873 gives the Earl of Elgin as a 
former proprietor, and Mr Laurie believes it was 
in his time the Castle seat in the Church was 
exchanged to the town for the present Castle seat. 
About 1765 the Castle came into the hands of 
Murdoch Campbell, Esq., who, hailing from Skye, 
changed the name to Rossend. In 1790, Robert 
Beatson, of Kilrie, married Mr Campbell's only 
daughter, and the Castle remained in the 
hands of the Beatsons for some time. Colonel 
Broughton, who was Governor of St Helena before 
Napoleon's time, married a Miss Beatson, and was 
proprietor of the Castle. A later proprietor of the 
Castle, Mr W. A. Laurie, as already mentioned, 
took a great interest in preserving the antique 
character of the Castle, and added many "curious 
and appropriate specimens of armour, heraldry, 
paintings, and furniture." AVlien in 1873 the 
late Mr James Shepherd, purchased the Castle, 
he omitted nothing possible to maintain this ven- 
erable pile. It is a grand old building, with its 
curious stairs, passages, and windows; its oak 


lined drawing-room and Queen Anne's room, but 
it now belongs to the Town Council, and one 
never can be sure what such a body may do. 

In reading Mrs Somerville's memoirs it surprised 
me that she never once mentions the Castle, 
although she was related to the Beatsons, and for 
some time, visited the Castle. Mary Somerville 
(Miss Fairfax) had a brother who paid court to 
Miss Beatson, but another carne on the scene and 
"put out young Fairfax's eye." Hence the dry- 
ness. Mary and her brother were fond of skipping 
the afternoon sermon, though their uncle, the Rev. 
Mr, on these occasions sent anxious 
enquiries after their health. Mary, as the old 
Fife saying has it, "didna aye gang to the Kirk 
when she gaed up the Kirkgate," but adjourned 
to the beach below the Kirk with her brother, to 
recover the headache induced by her esteemed 
relative's forenoon sermon, and to "see the whales 
spouting in the Firth." Happy whales! We 
have read of schools, but never of congregations 
of whales. Was this sad ending of "love's young 
dream" not a condign punishment for Sabbath- 
breaking '? This Rev. Mr Wemyss was the heir 
to the baronetcy given to Sir James Wemyss 
(1704), but did not assume the title. The arms of 
the Wemyss family (the Swan), may be seen on 
his tombstone in the Kirkyard. His son, Sir 
James Wemyss, was served heir to tho baronetcy 
on his father's death. The house of the 
marvellous Marv Sonierville, 'JO-'JN Smnerville 


though now tenanted by a number 
of families, has been little changed since 
she, then little Mary Fairfax, made nightly 
acquaintance with the distant constellations or 
studied Euclid secretly long- after the household 
wandered in the land of nod. The house adjoin- 
ing:, at the corner of Kirkgate, was also her 
father's, and was used as a dairy. The garden, 
now belonging- to Leven Villa, has still the grassy 
bank and stair, with the old wall and two hoary 
survivors of the row of elms. On her beloved 
Sunday adjournments to the rocky beach, to 
ponder on the microscopic or giant denizens of the 
deep, she passed through the door near the centre 
of the wall to another on the opposite side of Leven 
Street, which opened into a second garden, also 
owned by the Fairfaxes, and then intersected by a 
little street on which stood the Burgh School and 
the School house. The arched entrance to this 
street may yet be seen at the Xorth Station steps. 




The Town Council, as originally authorised by 
James V, " be ye grace of God, King- of Scotia," 
consisted of 21 members, including- a Provost and 
three bailies. The Councillors were all men of 
substance, though from the first an attempt was 
made to have representatives from the leading 
trades. Annually, in October, the old Council 
chose the new, and the new and old Councils to- 
gether then (hose the Provost and bailies, two 
officers ' jandis or serjandie" two constabillie, 
a " thesaurare," " procuror fischal," and a 
"dempster." By rights, these were submitted 
to what was called a " Head Court of the haill 
inhabitants," but this ceremony appears only once 
previous to 1012. There was another public- 
meeting, held some time after 1592, which may 
have been made to do in place of it "Calling ye 
comon Roll is." " Quarto die Me use Octobris 
100"), the quhilk day the burgesses inhabitants of 
ye bur h beam! thrie several tymes callit upone at 
ye Tolbuith Dore . . yc ab^entis was nottit and 
everie ane of yame condanmiit in ye unlaw of 


folirtie shilling's." The chief magistrate was 
usually a nobleman or lauded gentleman. On one 
occasion a bailie was advanced to the Provost ship, 
but often there was no Provost, a bailie being 1 
chosen " moderator " or " convener." Whether 
Provost or moderator, the first magistrate was also 
the representative of the Burg'h in the Scottish 
Parliament, and usually in the General Assembly 
of the Church, and the Convention of Burghs, 
which at one time was almost as important as 
Parliament. These conventions were held in a 
different burgh each year. In 1607 the conven- 
tion was held at Burntisland. Each year the 
Connnisioner on his return from the convention 
presented a report of the subjects discussed, 
usually 20 or 30 in number. In 1647 there were 
over 60 subjects filling- many pages. 

The blanks in the Council Records, and the 
difficulty of reading some portions, make it 
impossible to give a complete list of the Provosts 
or moderators. The following are all I have 
discovered : 

1592-8." Sir Robert Melville, youngare, of 
Murdocarnie, Knicht, Provost." 

1599-1602. " Sir George Home, of Spot, 
Knicht, Great thesaurer, was elecit and 
chosin Provost." 

1603. Xo Provost. 

1604-5. " Sir Robert Melville, Provost." 


1606-10. " Ane Potent and nobille Lord, 
George Erie of Dumbare, Lord Home of 
Berwick, Heidi Thesaurer of Scotland, and 
cancellare of the csthebare of England, 

1611. (Bailie) "Patrick Greiff, burgess of ye 
said Burgh, Provost." 

Town Records absent from 1613 to 1645, but 
in the Privy Council Records of 

1617. " Patrick Greif, . . . Provost of 
Brunt iland." 

The following two are found in Speed's notes, 
except that he gives the second as William, 
which was wrong : 

1618-163o (or part of). Sir Robert Melville, 
after 1621 Lord Melville, Provost. 

1640-1649 (or part of). Sir James Melville, of 
Halhill and Burntisland Castle, Provost." 

From 1649 to 1660 first Commonwealth, 
Cromwell's protectorate, Richard Cromwell, 
and second Commonwealth, there was no 
Scottish Parliament, but a very frequent 
mention is made of the Council of State to 
which the representative bailies were always 
being sent. This body took something like 
the position of the Privy Council, and was 
composed of eight Englishmen sitting at 
Dalkeith, and afterwards at Edinburgh, 
when some Scots were introduced. At the 


same time the Commonwealth gave Fife one 
representative in the Parliament at West- 
minster. James Sword was elected in 1652 
to represent the Fife burghs there, and in 
1656 Col. Werthaimer (?) who on one 
occasion was paid 100 for his main- 

1650. " Captain Andro Watson (Bailie) was 
electit moderator and convener of tliair 

1655. " George Davidson (Bailie) . . Mod- 
erator of ye meetings of Connsall." 

1663." Gilbert Halyburton (Bailie) . . . 
apoynted commissioner to the currant 

1670. William Ged (Bailie) " commissioner." 
1673. James Dewar (Bailie) " commissioner." 

1685. Michael Seton (Bailie) " commissioner to 
the Scottish Parliament.". (Seton was paid 
40s a day for expenses. 

Records absent 1688-1701. 

1702. Alexander Ged (Bailie) "commissioner to 
Parliament" (and for several years before. 
On June 5th " Bailie Alexander Ged signi- 
fied to the Counsell that the reason why he 
convened them to-day is that he intends, God 
willing, to goe over to Edgh. upon Mnnday 
nixt to attend the Parliat. sitting doune the 
nixt day. And yrfor desires to know what 


commands they have to lay on hiui and 
what instructions they have to give him 
aiient his voting in the ensuing sessjone of 
Parliament. The Counsall's answer is that 
they were very well pleased with his behav- 
iour in the last sessione of Parliat., and 
that he went along with ye Duke of 
Hamilton and his pairty who were for 
the good and interest of their country. 
And they hoped and expected that he would 
still adhere and . . . (vote) with that 
pairty." The Earl of Leven had com- 
plained to the Council of Ged's not being of 
the Court Party. But Ged held that he had 
fulfilled his promises to the town, and re- 
minded the Earl that the Government owed 
Burntisland three years' stipend ; nothing 
had been paid for the transport of troops 
by the town's boats, and the old promise to 
grant the town power to impose 2<1 on the 
pint of ale was still unredeemed. The 
Earl's real opposition to Ged lay in 
Ged's favouring the ill-starred Darien 
scheme, the colonisation of the Atlantic 
border of the Isthmus of Panama. This, 
the English feared, would be detrimental to 
their plans in India. 

In 1702 the Provostship and the represen- 
tation of the burgh in Parliament were 
separated for the first time. While Ged 


went to Parliament, a Provost remained in 

1702-1722." The Right Hon. John Lord Leslie, 
lawful son of the Earl of Rothes, Provost." 
In 1722 this Lord Leslie became 8th Earl 
of Rothes, and Commaiider-iii-Chief of the 
forces in Ireland. Daniel Defoe had just 
visited Burntisland and Leslie House in the 
time of his father. Xormaii Leslie, master 
of Rothes, who, with his brother John as- 
sisted at the murder of Cardinal Beaton, 
was a son of the 3rd Earl. There are a 
f^reat many communications in the Council 
Records from the notorious 6th Earl of 
Rothes, who was Sheriff of Fife as well as 
Chancellor of Scotland. He had bonds on 
the town for money lent, 1667-1 G81. 

1723-24." The Hon. Thomas Leslie, brother 
german to the Earl of Rothes, Provost." 

1725-27." The Hon. Charles Leslie, brother 
#erman to the Earl of Rothes, Provost." 

1780-83." James Townshend Oswald, of 
Dunnikier, supernumerary counsellor and 

1788-91. "William Ferguson, Esq., of Raith, 
supernumerary counsellor and Provost," 

1792." Sir James St Clair Erskine, of Dysart, 
supernumerary counsellor and Provost," 


Returning 1 to 1702 when, for the first time, the 
offices of Provost and Commissioner to Parliament 
were separated, we find Bailie Ged was the Com- 
missioner in June. In September, the Council 
elected the Right Hon. Sir Jon Arskine, of Alva, 
Knig-ht and Baronet, to be their Commissioner to 
Parliament. He continued to represent Burnt- 
island until the union of the Scottish and English 
Parliaments in 170T. In 1706, in reply to a com- 
munication from him regarding the union of the 
Parliaments, the Council at a special meeting- 
wrote that in these critical times they prefer not 
to be represented (on the question of union then to 
be decided) at the special Convention of Burghs. 
" Sir Jon" afterwards represented them in London 
until after the Union was consummated, and the 
first election for the new constituencies over. On 
May 14th, 1708, " Sir Jon Arskine of Alva, their 
Commissioner to the Parliament of Great Britain," 
writes saying their address was presented to " Hex- 
Majesty, being introduced by the Duke of Mont- 
rose . . The House of Commons was in a great 
concern to have a good harbour and dockyard in 
the Firth, and seemed generally to think Burnt- 
island the best. But the invasion broke them up 
in a kind of confusion. . . ." This invasion, which 
apparently delayed the progress of Burntisland, 
was that of the fleet of Louis XIV., who sent 26 
vessels with 4000 troops in an unsuccessful attempt 
to land the " Pretender" at Leith. On 24th May 
the Council appointed a commissioner to go to 


Dysart "to vote for a member (for tin' group of 
burghs) for the session to be held on the 8th day 
of July, at the Citie of Westminster." I believe 
the first representative for these burghs was Lord 
St Clair, but on 10th January, 1710, " Colonel 
James Abercombie was chosen to go to Parliament 
in place of Mr St Clair," who had been unseated 
on account of being- a peer. In June, 1711, Capt. 
James Oswald, of Dunnikier, is voted for as "their 
burg-ess for to represent the said district in the 
ensuing- Parliament of Great Britain." In 1727, 
" Colonel James Stellar was elected com r . lor the 
Burghs to Paii." 

The appointment of the two town's officers 
(serjandie), whose dress was a four-tailed red coat 
with white lining 1 , and a cocked hat, was complete 
on receiving " thair waiidis cojuntillie and 
severallie." These wands were carried with them 
when delivering 1 missives, and often appear before 
the Council to deliver "broken wandis" (we hope 
figuratively) ag-ainst those who had refused to 
recog-nise their authority. One of their duties was 
to attend the Council to the Kirk. In 1681, 
" ordanis ye haill Counsell ilk Saboth day to com 
peir at ye ring-ing of ye Tolbuith bell, in ye 
chamber under ye Tolbuith, and attend ye Magis 
trates to ye Kirk, ye officer David Couper to goe 
befoir them with ye halbert." 

The first time "constabills" appear is in 1611, 
when 3 burgesses are elected "constabills of ye 
pace" for six months, and in May following 


a baxter, a talyeor, and a Coupar were elected in 
their room. These men gave their services gratis, 
and Speed says, on the abolition of the system in 
1833, that the paid men would never be so efficient 
as the old. 

The Dempster was a person who delivered the 
finding- and sentence of the Court. 

According 1 to the report on the Municipal Cor- 
porations in 1833, the Council could appoint two 
Town Clerks. 

That the Head Court, by which the self-elected 
Councils were supposed to be confirmed, was a 
mere legal formality, and did not allow the end 
intended the goodwill of the community is very 
often in evidence. A serious instance, showing 1 
the popular disatisf'action with this method of 
election, occurred in 1617 when (Privy Council 
Records) "John Boswell, skipper, James Ramsay, 
Coupar, Eustatius Robertson, mariner," and 7 
others were tried at Edinburgh for disturbing the 
peace of ' Bruntiland." . . Thay brocht the 
said Burgh, quhilk of late wes composit of a 
nomber of peciable, modest, and obedient inhabit- 
ants, in that estate and condiion that now the 
obedience of the magistrate is cossiu aft' .. .. . 
The said persons . . . most unlauchfullie 
factiouslie and seditiouslie convocat and assemblitt 
togidder a grite nomber of the inhabitants without 
the presence of the magistrat, first in the Kirk 
about fyve in the clock in ye morning, and in ye 


efter noone . . and in Juny last in ye Tolbuith 
of ye said Enroll, and proudlie and arrogantlie 
unsurpit npone thain the autliorite of ye magistral. 
And not content with this form of conrocatioune 
thay began to presoome so far of thair pouer and 
force within ye sd burgh that very proudlie and 
iimlapairtlie thay took upone thaiin the office of 
the magistral, and appointit thair meetings with 
sound of drum. Thay sent twa drimiis throu the 
said Burgh commanding the inhabitants to meet 
with thame. Thay haif imposit and layd 
taxatioune upone ye poor inhabitants the better 
to mak thame follow oute and prosequute thair 
factious courses . . ." Only three appeared 
at the trial. These were committed to the Tol- 
tooth of Edinburgh indifinitely, and the others 
declared rebels. 

In 1611 "Ye Bailyies and Clerk of ye Brint- 
iland wes committit to the Tolbuith of Edin- 
burgh," it appears for some evasion of the xett of 
the Burgh. It was in this year Patrick Grief, a 
bailie, was chosen Provost by a pluralitie of votes. 

Xor were the Bailies and Councillors always 
satisfied with the way they were elected. They 
(io not appear to have been consulted as to their 
<villingness to take office. There are innumerable 
instances of their refusal to accept office. Especi- 
ally after Cromwell's triumph in 1651 and well 
into the 18th century the difficulty of obtaining 
Councillors was extreme. Due to the heavy as- 
sessments for the military many burgesses emi- 


"rated. Even the Town Clerk fled to Aberdour, 
and refused to return " except lie be exempted 
from quartering, watching' and warding." Which 
was agreed to. Then, after the " bonfyres" and 
rejoicings, came (1661) Charles II. 's declaration 
of ecclesiastical supremacy. At first none would 
sig'n it ; by 1662 only a few, and that with quali- 
fications. Even in 16T6 four Councillors were 
fined 100 each for refusing to sign. Then from 
gradual loss of trade from the Union came the 
town's bankruptcy, when the Bailies were im- 
prisoned. A g-ood g-eneral example was as late as 
1704;, when "Ye Council" decided to " fyne 
Archibald Ang-tis in the soume of ane hundred 
pounds Scots money for his not accepting- to be 
baillie, and ordaines him to be apprehended and 
put in ye Tolbuith keep until he pays his fyne or 
accepts office." At the same time three coun- 
cillors were fined 50 Scots each, and imprisoned 
until they " paid or obeyed." 

The Council constituted, a move is made to ap- 
portion the various duties. The principal com- 
mittee was what Speed calls the jury of 15, of 
which 1 find the foreman termed the "concelare." 
1'h is body made "ye statutes and common actis." 
That is, fixed the prices at and the conditions 
under which the various commodities were to be 
sold, and framed laws anent beggars, riots, house 
letting-, middens, etc. In early times, Ihe Bailies, 
while hearing- cases, delivered judgment only when 
the facts were admitted. When disputed, the 


jury of lo, or one of similar numbers specially 
appointed, heard flie case. The names of the 
jurors are -written in Latin, and occasionally their 
calling 1 is added. Mr Allan Rodger, F.E.I.S., 
Ban-head, has been good enough to translate a 
few of these, which are here given : 

Bestiarius Cattle dealer. Polciitariuis Dealer in pearl 
Caltiarius Shoemaker. barley. 

Camus Dog keeper. Pi.stor Miller. 

Fabermarariu-; Smith. Sartor Tailor. 

Farmarius A meal seller. Viator An officer! to summon 
Festor Controller of games. be fere a magistrate. 

Navila Boat hirer. Vestiarius Clothes dealer. 
Nanta Sailor. 

Then were appointed the " visitors to ye Har- 
borie," and to the meal and flesh markets, the ale- 
tasters, the quartermasters who kept men watch- 
ing* and warding, to keep order, prevent smug- 
gling, etc. the "common Mettaris" apparently 
to examine the measures and "wechts" ; two stent- 
masters, and a Postmaster. 

The various sources of revenue were rouped, in 
each case to the highest bidder Anchorage or 
Docksilver, Postshipe, Beaconage, Boatsilver, Coal 
dues, Small customs, " Hyred hors" dues or Post- 
silver (a duty of o per cent, on the earnings of 
each horse). I came on a curious correspondence 
between the Excise and the Town Council which 
looked like an offer of a slump sum for the right 
to collect. Strange! The booths under the Tol- 
booth, eight in number, and the " Comon Lands," 
north and south the Brume Hills and Craig-ken- 


nochie, and the Links, Lammerlaws, and Ivirk- 
yard were also rouped. A stent roll was then 
framed by the Stentmasters to meet the require- 
ments of the year. It sometimes happened that 
the tacksmen found their tack a loss at the end 
of the year, in which case, on proper representa- 
tion, the Council granted an abatement. 

The Council meeting's were held with strict de- 
corum and regularly weekly. The hours of meet- 
ing were unearthly, modelled on the daylight 
saving lines. In 1655 " Ye Counsel! enactis and 
ordain is that no Counsellor be absent from Coun- 
sell during ordiner Counsel! day promptlie at ye 
ringing of ye bell qlk sal be at seven houris of 
ye morning in summer tyme fra ye eleventh of 
March until! ye eleventh of Sepr. and at audit 
houris in ye morning fra ye eleventh of Sepr. 
until! ye eleventh of March . . . under ye 
pain of 6/-," and if half an hour late "3/-" ; those 
departing before the " last prayer 12/-." In the 
last case money could be saved by not going at 
all. Those appearing without " honest hats, or 
Wanting cloaks" were relieved of " 6/- for ye first 
fault, doubling for ye nixt." For refusing to 
vote or express an opinion " 20/- for ye first fault, 
doubling yrof fr ye nyxt," and for those refusing 
to pay up confining them "as ye counsell sail 
determine." These fines were put in the poor's 
box the fortunes of the poor rising or falling 
with the improper or proper behaviour of their 
law givers. 




To fill the office of a Councillor in those days 
required backbone. An honour it wax, and one 
that was dearly earned. But there turned up 
now and then an unexpected but welcome supply 
of "beer and skittles." One of these pauses came 
round on the annual perambulation of the inarches. 
The marches are wider now, but the horse is not 
yet extinct, and I am sure owners of these, for 
the mere pride and pleasure of seeing- our Town 
Council "on horseback richly caparisoned,'' would 
be delig-hted to provide their quietest and safest 
mounts. In 1")94 it was enacted that "en Monan- 
day ye Baillies, burg-esses, and friemen of ye sd 
burgh attend ye perambulation of ye marches,"' 
under pain of 6/- a head; and in 16")5 "All bur- 
g-esses to accompany ye Baillies and Counsell yeirly 
at Witsonmonday to perambulate ye marches of 
vis burg-h." Another annual ceremony, which 
saemed to provide some consolation, was the visi- 
tation of the school, after which the schoolmaster 
and doctor appeared at the Tolbuith and delivered 
up the keys of the school and 'schoolhous?, acknow- 
ledging- their dependence on the Council, who 
graciously returned the keys with the invariable 


advice to be "more diligent than heretofore," and 
often reminding- them to take special care of the 
scholars in the kirk on the Lord's day, and prevent 
them from making- a noise and distraction, and 
to keep them from playing- 011 the " shoar." This 
"shoar" seemed to have an irresistible and melan- 
choly attraction for that perverse generation of 
youngsters. In 1678 Bailie Hackston promised to 
send one of his officers to the "shoar at the Tol- 
buith" and one to the " Port to prevent children 
after sermone making a tumult and clamour, and 
to stop men from meeting- and frequenting- taverns 
and tippling." 

The " Doctor" was the taker up of the psalm, 
keeper of the kirk records, and reader of prayers, 
for which he had a small salary and house. He 
also assisted the schoolmaster during- the week, 
and received l-'Jrd of the scholars fees. There was 
a schoolmaster in 1">96, and the Council nominated 
certain of the " honestest men of the burgh" for 
him to lodge with. At this time the schoolmaster, 
who had a monopoly of the teaching- in the burg 1 ]), 
received 100 merks, a free, house, and 2->Jrds of 
the fees. A school and schoolhouse were built in 
1620 to the south of the present church hall. 
The salary must have increased before 17;M, as 
on the death of the schoolmaster in Ihal year his 
widow sued the Council for t'PJO for salary due. 
Tlits after many legal ins and outs was "payed." 
Some time after the town's bankruptcy, there being- 


no schoolmaster, one came forward and offered his 
services for 6 months free. 

The present Episcopal School was originally the 
Buroh School, built in 1803. This school, through 
a succession of able masters, was famous for the 
teaching' of navigation. One of these, John 
Davidson, was the author of a standard book on 
" Practical Mathematics." Mr Allan Rodger, 
F.E.I.S., Ban-head, possesses a copy of the fifth 
edition, dated 1852, extending- to 509 pages of 
letterpress, and 137 pages of Logarithms. He says 
it is a far more comprehensive book than any one 
now issued. John Davidson was followed by his 
able son, Walter, whose pupils have described to 
me the walls and ceiling- of the school as painted 
blue, and marked by himself with the positions of 
the constellations. He had a fine reflecting tele- 
scope, used a magic lantern in his lectures (over 
TO years ago), and had a printing press. Another 
master, the late Mr David Low, well maintained 
the character of the school, and was a man of 
feeling as well as originality. He was deeply con- 
versant with such subjects as the Scotch fisheries, 
poor laws, and bi-metalism. " I knew him well," 
though never a truant. The following beautiful 
lines, of which he made me a copy, are worth 
quoting. They were written to assist the agitation 
in favour of the site for the present cemetery, 
where he now lies : 


" Bid them lay me away in yonder nook, 
In tlis pure and kindly soil, 
Where heath an:l harebell decked c-f yore, 
A retreat from care and toil. 

Where the rock? shall sentinel my bed, 
And the woods will softly sigh, 
And the living lend a chastened look, 
As they flit or linger by ; 

Where affection's tear may fitly fall, 
And tender memories rise, 
To relink this changeful earth to heaven, 
As hope recounts each prize ; 

Ye will lay me away in that sweet ispot, 
And awake again the flowers, 
Where heath and harebell bloomed of yore, 
God's acre rl-ihii* such bowers." 

There was also in 1656 a school for "lassies and 
small boys," kept with the permission of the 
magistrates, by a Mary Malpas, and afterwards 
by other women teachers. This school is said to 
have been kept in a room of 35 High Street. 
This fin? old building' has coats of arms over two 
of the windows with the date 1626 and the initials 
K.R. and A.M. This date may only mark a 
renovation of the structure, as there is a tradition 
that its name of Cross Keys had been used when 
it was an inn or hospice in Roman Catholic times. 
It was an inn 60 or 70 years ago. When the 
Albert Pier was built there existed in addition to 
the "Cross Keys," "The Waterloo," on the site 
of the new Council Chamber; " The Perth Hotel," 
where " The George" now is; " The Black Bull," 
north of the present " Steamboat Tavern"; "The 

The "Old Ship" Tavern. 


Old Ship," at the back of the " Steamboat Tav- 
ern" ; and " The Green Tree," in old Dock Place 
anciently there were trees there. ' The Gr?en 
Tree" depicted on the left of the Tolbuith in 
Chapter 7 was its successor. An older tavern was 
" The Castle o' Pox," or pocks, which stood where 
th? first house on the High Street now stands, 
and which has inherited this peculiar name, sup- 
posed by some to be derived from its having- been 
a store for sacks. I have no doubt that the name 
is a corruption of Castor and Polliu.-, a favourite 
sig-n in old days for seaport taverns. Sailors be- 
lieved that the twin balls of electric fire playing 
round the mast heads in a storm and named Castor 
and Pollux, promised g'ood weather. In Brewer's 
Dictionary, under tavern, a long 1 list of corrupted 
titles may be seen. Here are several : ' The cat 
and fiddle," the popular rendering 1 of the Latin 
Caton FiJclc; "The Bag 1 o' Nails" Bacchanals ; 
' The Iron Devil" Hirondclle (a swallow); " The 
Bully Ruffian" HcUcrnjiliun (a ship). 

Althoug-h James VI., Charles I., and James 
VII. were g-olfers, the Bailies do not seem to 
have amused themselves with the game which 
became so popular on Burntisland links in later 
days. They indeed frowned on such frivolity. 
In 1008 some impertinent innovators had been 
measuring the suitableness of the links for such 
purposes, and a complaint was made to the 
Council of "persons playing' at bulletis on ye 
lynks." This was not golf, but a kindred g-ame 


at which a ball was used. After grave delibera- 
tion the Council concluded that " ye grass was 
likely to be destroyed," and a warning was given, 
that anyone " doing' ye lyke again " would be. 
mulcted in '' Fyve Pounds." However, the de-- 
sire for relaxation found vent in an annual horse 
race as early as 16o2. This was run on the sands 
from Bnrntisland to Pettycur, and though pat- 
ronised by the Magistrates may have originated 
with Cromwell's horsemen, billeted in the town 
at that time. A cup won at these races is said 
to be in the possession of an old lUirntislaud 
family now in Australia. 

Occasionally a coronation, a royal birthday, or 
other notable event, was the excuse for a day oft'. 
On Charles II. being 1 crowned, 25th March, 1G61, 
L ' bonfyres for ye coronation in England " wore 
ordered. In 1G79, on the arrival of the Duke of 
Monmouth, half a barrel of gunpowder was burned 
"to compliment the Duke on his return from the 
Wemyss." On 28th May, 1683, " ordaiues each 
person to put bonfyres in front of thair houses 
to-morrow in honour of his Majesty's birthday," 
and the Treasurer is to " advance poudre for 
fyrring- of g-unes at oight of ye cloik." The Tol- 
booth bell was to be rung- from 6 to 10. On 2Gth 
June, 1G88, there was a similar ongoing on the 
birth of a son (the " Old Chevalier") to James VII. 
He is called in the records "ane heich and mighty 
Prince and Stewart of Scotland." 


There were outing's, too, for the " Commis- 
sioner" to Parliament, conventions, and assem- 
blies ; hut these could hardly be classed as pleasure 
excursions, when we remember the comparatively 
slow and uncomfortable travel, and the distances 
covered from Ayr on the one hand to Aberdeen 
on the other. But there was one treat in the 
exercise of which they were " past masters " 
the " banquet," the contemplation of which should 
make the teeth of a modern Councillor water. A 
liurgess on his admission, which cost as much as 
'50 Scottis, according 1 to agreement, and on his 
swearing to be true to the King-, the Magistrates 
etc., the barg-ain was cemented by the new burgess 
" standing- his hand." 

This indispensable rite was sometimes innocently 
called "the spice and wine," but was, as Speed 
implies, something 1 more than a mere "tastin'." 
It is followed in the records by spaces of eloquent 
silence and poorly attended meetings. In this 
way producing a sobering- effect. The sons of 
Burgesses were admitted {/rutix, saving- the ban- 
quet, which was never omitted. 

The saying " Man is born to trouble as the 
sparks fly upward" was eminently applicable to 
the Bailies of Burntisland. Their privileges were 
enjoyed at a high figure. Greed and envy from 
the rich proprietor, the blackleg- trader or crafts- 
man, the out-of-work or professional beg-g'ar, tor- 
tured them ceaselessly. Inventing taxes to pay off 


bonds ; appealing' to the seductive labyrinth of the 
law on matters sometimes serious, sometimes triv- 
ial, or in despair taking refuge in arbitration; 
fighting the plague or terrified by witches; wor- 
ried for want of a minister, or the possession of 
one to be kept for better or worse ; threatened from 
high quarters against the holding of conventicles; 
commandeered by the military authorities, and 
ultimately ruined by them and disfranchised. 
Deep is the debt we owe them. They had per- 
force to wear the wrinkled brow of care that we 
might smile in blyther days. I often ponder on 
the battles they fought for us as I read the fast 
disappearing names on their tombstones. 

There was one pleasure pure, without money and 
Avithout price, valued and shared by the meanest 
inhabitant Burntisland if poor was beautiful. I 
have spoken to those who could tell me how it 
looked over 100 years ago. Poor and rich were 
enthusiastic in its praise. Xo battering Round 
House, roaring express, thundering coal hoist, or 
cursed sj'ren outraged the ear, ' The echoes of 
the mountain repeated the murmur of the winds 
or the dashing of the waves on the vermillion 
clifts. Framed in the hills, the Links rolled in 
green waves from Xellfield to the Delves, broken 
only by the crags of Craigkennochie and the dubs 
at the Lochies. The sands, a white and glittering 
bracelet, clasped the blue bay from Lammerlaws 
to Kingswood neb. At low tide the broad sands 


were crowded with cockles and spouts, now, alas ! 
extinct : poisoned by the refuse from oil and coal. 
From the harbour to the Lauimerlaws point 
stretched a range of embattled rocks crowned with 
a rampart of green. In front of the Kirk the top 
had many green knolls to which on Sundays the 
country hearers adjourned between sermons to eat 
their lunch, the banks here inviting- visits to the 
beach by many winding- paths among- the whins. 
Xear was a rock-hewn stair called the " Mare's 
(mer = sea) Delves," by which fishers usually de- 
scended to the rocks. The point of the Lammer- 
laws alone is left, and soon its last divot will be 
kicked into the sea by the united efforts of this 
pierrot, football, and School Board fed generation . 
The long- imprisoned sand will then be blown away, 
if not secured by some contractor. There are a good 
many cartloads. The rock may then be turned 
into a few hundred tons of road metal, and a 
natural shelter to the shipping and beach and an 
ornament to the town, finally got rid of. Pre- 
vious to the blasting of a rock projecting in front 
of the Steamboat Tavern and the building of " The 
Provost's Pier," the banks sloped to the water and 
were covered with trees. 

Sweet Burntisland'* .snugly fenced, 

Wi' friendly hills aroond the north ; 
There's no a toon ae circonnistanced 

For health or beauty on the Forth. 


The Delves, Dodlhead, and Kingswoodeud, 
Temper the bitter Russian gale, 

Duuearn and the Binn defend 
When Boreas' icy blasts assail. 

Yet iu the hottest days of June, 

Half-circled in the summer waves, 

Cool breezes fan the burning noon, 
Released from Neptune's crystal cave<. 

By Alexander's Monument 

We skirt the silver sand-girt bay, 

To rest a-while among the bent, 
Or in the Delves recesses stray. 

L,3t's gain Dunearn's lake-tipped crown, 
And view the prospect far and wide, 

The Pentlands, Ba<, the Law, and down 
The Firth cf Forth'-s resplendent tide ; 

Inchkeith, Inchcolm, old Aberdour's 

Romantic avenues and dens, 
To distant Stirling's cloxid-tapped towers, 

And far away, the Grampians. 




From 1592 to 1611 the Councillors were very 
busy framing a complete set of ordinances for the 
management of the burgh. In fixing- the prices 
and manner of sale of goods the following 1 articles 
appear: ' Kaikes, aitmeall, bred, buttare, cheise, 
fleshes, beif, muttony, swyne, fyshe, candill, aill, 
and Inglis beir." Aboiit this time there is no 
notice of milk, egg's, or whisky; nor until later do 
I observe coal. What passed down " Thrapple- 
ton's Wynd " was a prime consideration. The 
weight, quality, and price of " bred, maill, and 
fleshes" received searching attention from the 
visitors to the "maill and fieshe mercats." " Fre- 
men baxters" must sell "thair bred and maill" 
only "at ye Mercat Cross Munday, Wedinsday, 
and Saturday," thoug-h they might sell these in 
their booths on other days. " TInfriemen" bakers 
from outside or who were not members of the 
Bakers' Guild -had always to sell at "ye croce," 
and were not allowed to go from door to door with 
their " advantage bred." " That no persone nor 
persones pretend nor tak upone hand to sell any 
advantage bred, bot onlie sixpennie bred, twelft' 
pennie bred, twa shilling bred, tlirie shilling bred, 

76 HISTORY OF BUKNTISLAND shilling bred." Fleshers had to break "thair 
fleshes after nyne hours in ye day, on Mercat 
days," and in presence of " ye comoii breker of 
fi?sche," and not in '' thair buiths or houses on 
Mercate days biit in ye Mercate." 

As showing 1 the attention paid to the rearing of 
<uiimals intended for consumption in 1(509, 
" Swyne neither young' nor olde" were allowed 
to walk about "ye streets," and at one time on 
;a visit of the plagaie all were destroyed and their 
keeping tabooed. Butter was a luxury in 1609 : 
" Ordainis vat no buttare sal be sauld any derar 
within yis burg'h heirefter nor four shillings ye 
pund, and g'uid and sufficient saltand, under ye 
paine of fortie shillings of unlaw, Toties quoties." 

The authorities not only prevented unauthorised 
persons coming into the town to sell, but the 
lieges were forbidden to take wares of their own 
manufacture, or imported, out of the town to sell 
until the inhabitants or the Council were sup- 
plied at a reasonable rate. A good example is 
given at a late date, 1728, when James Welsh 
was hauled up for carrying his " fyshe " out of 
the town without offering them for sale there. 
He defended himself by saying he could not get a 
sufficient price in the town. The Council held 
this was not true, and "ordained that the town's 
fyshers in tyme coming- bring thair haill fyshes 
to the full sea opposite the town's dial, and there 
expose them to publick sale till the town be served 


at reasonable prices," and afterwards the fishers 
" may carry thair fyshe wherever they please." 
But it was sometimes the other way about. In 
17^8 a whale had been driven ashore on the rands. 
The Marquis of Tweeddale, possessing the rights, 
of the Abbey, sent demanding it. The Council, 
delighted with the providential flotsam, had al- 
ready sold it for "twentie nyne punds," and in 
reply took to boiling down the importance of the 
Cetacean, sarcastically terming' it "a small fyshe 
called a bottlenose" a mere sprat, which ought 
to have been beneath the notice of a Marquis I 
His Lordship, however, had the whale arrested in 
the hands of the purchaser. The law's delays 
were impossible in such a case; the "small fyshe" 
g-etting- more offensive every hour, the Council had 
to hand over the shekels, after ag'ain commenting' 
very freely on the meagreness of the " fyshe's " 

Speed says that at one time there were over 60 
brewers, and that much of their produce was ex- 
ported. I find that in 1652, 31 brewers were fined 
for selling-' "dear aile." Their malt and brew 
houses were in the gardens along' the north side 
of the Hig-li Street. In 1010 a committee of four 
was appointed to visit the markets, including- the 
"cunsterie of ye uill." This committee tasted the 
ale we have never been hard up for men who at 
the call of duty would fa<v any risk and exam- 
ined the materials and method of its manufacture. 
In 1655 it was "ordained that ;ill aill must not be 


sold dearer than two shillings ye pynt." In 1GG5 
the Kin- was petitioned to gift the town a nierk 
on the boll of malt, and an agitation began to try 
to obtain for the town's benefit "two pennies on 
ye pynt of aill." These efforts were revived with 
great energy after the town's bankruptcy in 1700 
and the union of 1708 after which all the burghs 
on the Fife coast were in a languishing' condition 
and came to a head in 1720. In that year, in 
language fitted to melt the heart of a stone, the 
Council sends a long petition to Parliament, setting 
forth the national services rendered by the town's 
sheltering roads, the depth of water in "ye har- 
borie," its suitableness for victualling', cleaning, 
and " carooning his Majestie's ships," it being 
environed on the East, West, and Xorth pairts 
with the finest and larg-est parks and enclosures 
(fences or walls were unknown in Scotland before 
1681). " This Burg'h is also endued And adorned 
with a church of the finest and handsomest fabrick 
of any of its bounds and extent for North Britain. 
Which fabrick and the said useful And valuable 
harbour with the tonne lions? or Prison house 
That have always been in use to be supported 
Upholden and Repaired out of the comou Reve- 
nue is now fallen under a g-reat decay and amounts 
to so small a matter As it altogether with the 
monthly voluntar contributions of the Burgors" 
does not prevent it from being " sunk in debt 
And upon the very brink of Ruin" . . . ob- 
loig-ed to apply to its creditors for a supercedere 


for several years before any Magistrate or Council 
would accept office. The petitioners finish up by 
asking leave to impose " two pennies Scots per 
pyut on all bear and aill brewed or sold in the 
Burgh." This petition was granted. From 1723 
annually the tax was sold to the highest bidder, in 
the presence of one or more of the Commissioners 
for West Fife. One of these seemed to be very 
popular John Moubray of Cockairney as in 172T 
the Council "ordaines a dinner to be provided for 
Cockairnie," the treasurer to pay the same, and 
Bailie Angus and the Clerk's charges for waiting 
upon him (at Cockairney to invite him). This 
twopence on the pint did not suit the brewers, who 
in 1726 petitioned the Council to abate 4s on each 
barrel of "aill or b?ar brewed," or they would be, 

The chief of the remaining " Statutes" of lo9G 
were " ye harbourie," middings, setting of houses, 
injurious words, baughe straikes, streking with 
bathons, drawing of wapons, galloping horses. 
Two years earlier it was enacted that the " red 
be part it to ye lynks at ye eist end." Later there 
was a walled enclosure near the centre used for 
this purpose. Each householder removed his own 
rubbish. In spite of severe penalties the midden 
system continued till 1833. In 1781 there was a 
petition from the inhabitants, who complained 
that " when trying to get home at night in ye 
dark they either tumble into ye muck middings 
and dung hills, or break their heads on ve carts 


in ye High Street." The Council thereupon gave 
notice by "tuck of drum" to have tlie same re- 
moved within 8 days "so as to allow the water to 
run alongside the street." In 1611 no one was to 
"set a house to incomers" without acquainting the 
" Provost, Baillies, and Counsall in wreit," and 
110 one was to give house room to any " strong 1 and 
ydle heggaris." This supervision of incomers 
arose from the fear of plague mainly, of which 
there were many visits during 1 the 17th century 
and later. In 171.1 a night guard of 12 men were 
on duty at the harbour from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. to 
prevent ships or boats from landing, and there 
was a barricade at the head of the West Bulwark. 
In 1659: "This Burgh being- a place of comon 
passage for strangers, among- them many idle 
vagabonds and other wicked persons, ordains that 
the inhabitants of Burnt island allow none such 
to lodg-e in yr houses without intimating their 
names to the magistrate under "ye paine of fyve 
pounds for ye first, doiibling for ye seconde, and 
sumarlie banished for ye third." This threat of 
banishment was no idle one. It was often put in 
force, whole families being put outside the town. 
In 1657 Janet - - having 1 raised a scandal 

about " Captain Georg-e - his wyff," which 

was enquired into by the Kirk Session, "ordained 
the sd Janet to be whipped throu ye town and 
banished . . . ; and if ever she be fund in 
that toun againe She shall be burnt in ye theik." 
Every burgess had the right to carry a sword, 


and "the drawing of wapons" was a frequent 
cause of injury and even death. In 1611 William 
Balnerage, wright, and John Black, skynnar, were 
tried by "ane assysis of 15 for drawing 1 of qiihn- 
yarie upone ye comoii streitis ... in hie con- 
tempt of our statutes." They were fined " ilk 
ane of yame fortie shillings and ordains ilk ane 
of yame to crave forgiffiness to ye toun upone 
yair kneis and not to do ye lyk hierefter under 
ye paine of ane hundredth Ibs, and to remain in 
warde for twentie four houres." As early as 1598 
a certain Councillor at the Council meeting- became 
very abusive, "drew his whanger, threw down his 
glove and challenged any of them to single com- 
bat." Xobody took up the glove, so he departed 
triumphant, " betook himself to his hous, and 
harangued them from his windock." He was 
fined only ten merks. In another case, given by 
Speed, John Brown (1602) and his son were hanged 
at Leith for causing the death of three Spanish 
merchantmen. The heads were brought over and 
stuck on poles on the Island. In 1666 William 
Moncrief, Talyeor in the Burgh, was murthered 
by William Groome of Dunbar, having " stricken 
him in ye bodie with a whinyer." He wtis tried 
at Edinburgh, the Council hoping " he would 
suffer here." In 1660 Alexander Boswell, skip- 
per, was murdered by a trooper of Captain 
Fermer's Company. He was surrendered to 
Captain Feriner. 


There is 110 means of knowing- what were the 
piers built by Tames V. just previous to its erec- 
tion into a Royal Burgh in 1540. But I find the 
Graysumlay, West Bulwark, and Earne Craig 
existed in 1600. The Graysunday was a half tide 
pier used by the ferry boats, and in 1804 the 
back wall of it, as it were, was the North face 
of the East Head. Its peculiar name, sometimes 
in the more misleading form of Grey Sunday, has 
often attracted attention without its derivation 
being guessed. Farnie got in a temper over it, 
and thought it insoluble. Here is my translation 
Grace n J)icu God be thanked so appropriate 
and like the spirit previous to the Reformation. 
The East Head was necessary to the existence of 
the Grey Sunday. Both it and the West Head are 
mentioned in the report of the Military Commis- 
sion in 1627 who advised forts to be built at each 
side of the entrance to the harbour. The exact 
position of one of these on the East Head is known. 
The West Bulwark was what is now called Crom- 
well's Pier. The Earne Craig ran soiith into the 
harbour from east of the Castle. Burntisland and 
Kinghorn had one Customs officer between them 
till 1598, when (Privy Council Records) " Scliir. 
George Home Wedderburn, comptroller to our 
sovereign Lord, constitute Maister William Syme 
coquett clerk of Brintiland, and delivered him the- 
half of the coquette sele to be used by him as clerk. 
Yigesimo Julie 1598." There was a Bailie 
William Svme at that time. Laing in his 


"Ancient Scottish Seals" gives a list of 7 
" cokete " seals only. Was Syme's " cocquett 
sele" that mentioned by Speed as showing- an 
image of James V. in armour? In " Cardonnel's 
Scottish Coinage" 8 coins of James V. are men- 
tioned as showing- him in mail. 

According- to Speed, nine vessels belonged to 
Burntisland in 1640 two of 115 tons each, two 
of 160 tons each, and the remainder 120, 105, 85, 
80, and 50 tons respectively, as well as coasting 
vessels, crears, and ferry boats decked and open. 
He gives the principal imports about 1G80 as wood 
from Xorway, flax from Flanders, French wine, 
malt and grain from England, beef, hides, and 
grain from the Highlands. Most of the goods 
from the Highlands was for Dnnfermline, Cupar, 
and Dundee. I have heard that live stock were 
landed at Burntisland and driven overland as far 
as Dundee, or transhipped to Leith by means of 
the fleet of luggage boats, termed " big boats." 
No doubt there would b? cases like this, as there 
was an important luggage service from the first. 
The carriage of cattle by this service entered on a 
new phase on the advent of the Messrs Young's 
cattle rearing industry in 1840, when from 700 
to 800 cattle, besides sheep, were disposed of annu- 
ally, value about 10,000. The boats at this time 
were from 50 to GO feet long, about 18 feet wide, 
and very fast. One may lie .->< n in " Swan's 
Views of Fife," Vol. 2, page ^S]. The boats 


were decked, and the cattle walked down an in- 
clined plane into th? hold. 

Ln 1555 " Bruntheland " exported hides, her- 
ring', and cod. About 1680, coal, ale, and table 
linen were the chief exports. Defoe on his visit 
about 1710 writes thus: "Linen was made in 
Burntislaiid and all the coast towns of Fife, and 
was much liked in England." Speed says the 
coal as late as 1680 was brought from Fordell in 
paniers, on horseback, by the beach, and was 
shipped chiefly to Holland. It was not till well 
through the 18th century that there were any 
further attempts to add to local industries. In 
1776 Thomas Parker made additions to "his 
Sugar House," and later the Vitriol Works were 
founded. In the first half of last century the 
herring fishing and curing assumed vast propor- 
tions, at one time some 30,000 barrels being ex- 
ported annually. I think the harbour approach 
to the curing houses may have received its curio\is 
name of " Spice rue" during this period. Somei" 
ville Street had a manifest odour, and a great 
many French craft were engaged in the export, 
l.'riuging fruit in exchange. The French epice 
was humorously correct. 

Small customs were levied on the following- 
articles in 1670: Lint, wool, cloth, merchant 
goods, iron, cuil (coal), salt, timber, malt, draft', 
beef, sheep, cow, hors, swyne, fishe, meal, butter, 
clieise, bred. In 1685 the anchorage was rouped 


for 175; Boatsilver, 146; Small Customs, 174; 
Coals, 50; the Coinon lands, 3.14 merks Scots; 
booths under the Tolbooth, eight in number, from 
3 10s to 10 each =34 10s. At the same period 
the "cess" on proprietors and traders amounted 
annually to from 800 scots to 1200 scots. For 
strictly local purposes " the haill inhabitants " 
were always being 1 applied to in addition to their 
liability to serve in defence of the town, for special 
night and day committees, as well as ordinary 
watching 1 and warding 1 , and to assist in cleansing' 
the harbour or paving- the streets, at both of which 
women helped. 

Anchorage rang-ed from 2s for the smallest boat 
to 6 5s for ships of "300 tunes" as long 1 as these 
were Scottish. " Foraigne" ships, in which were 
included English as late as 1685, were charged 
<louble. (Free trade had been introduced by 
Cromwell, but it disappeared with him. An at- 
tempt was made to reintroduce it about 16S8, 
which was strongly resisted by Burntisland.) For 
shipping- coal 3s per load was charged, and about 
the same time (1680) for the purpose of relaying- 
the "cahsie from the foot of the North Wynd to 
the Sea Milne dams, the duty was raised to tin 
townsfolk to 2 scots per load. 




" Before 1600 houses were along- the shore and 
continuous on Loth sides of ' King- Hig-h Street' 
(I find the expression in 1607 ' Ye principal! King- 
hie Streit'); not so continuous in Back Street, and 
detached houses at South Hill." In the records 
in 1592 is the phrase " To mak patent ye Tolbuith 
of oure sd Burg-h," and in 1604 a proclamation 
was made "at ye Tolbuith dore." Whether this 
was a building- merely adapted to the purpose does 
not appear, but in 1605 it is proposed to " big- 
ane new Tolbuith," and in May 1606 contracts 
are entered into for " bigg-ing ye Tolbuith,-" 
Council house, ward houses, " iron for windocks 
(six to be g-lazed), stane, water, lime, and wark- 
men." The stone work was to cost 1600 merks, 
but it cost more. In 1609 " Ye buiths and ye 
clappe under ye Tolbuith" were let for the first 
time to various individuals. In 1612 James 
Thompson, wright, contracted to line the interior 
of the Council chamber with " aik, and rang-e 
pillaris," and to build a stair to " ye loftis." 
This interesting- structure was removed in 184H 
on the building- of the Albert steamboat pier and 
the road to Kinghorn. Farnie stigmatises it as 
" that abominable old court house with its out- 


side stair." It would see many a stirring scene 
in the 230 odd years of its existence, especially 
in the three years before and nine years after 
Cromwell's arrival, during 1 which period it was 
fitted up for soldiers. When the Council patri- 
otically vacated it in 1648 they little thought it 
would be 12 years a barracks. My illustration of 
it has been constructed from a small woodcut, a 
water-colour of my own of the old " Green Tree," 
and the descriptions of the people who have seen 
it. It has been shown to several of these who are 
still alive, who recognise it as being correct. The 
doors of the cells were of strong iron grating 
throughout, so that the prisoners could always be 
kept in view. It was no uncommon thing to see 
a string let down from the window of a cell to 
which friends would attach some luxury denied by 
the authorities. The kind-hearted Town's Officer 
winked at this and other , liberties, but he went 
too far when he took " half a crown" from " a 
gentleman" incarcerated for debt who wanted a 
bottle of whisky. While absent on this errand of 
mercy, the prisoner got out of his cell and escaped, 
and the Town's Officer lost his berth. " There's 
many a slip 'tween the cup and the lip." There 
was a large hall used for trials, public meetings, 
entertainments, and dancer. Off this hall at the, 
west end was the Council chamber. The booths 
on the ground floor were at first used by their 
tacksmen for storing and exhibiting goods on 
market davs. 


Due to the blank in the records, the first men- 
tion I found of a clock is in 1658, when Henrie 
Crawford was appointed in room of James 
Anderson " for attending' to ye toiin clock." In 
168') a clockmaker was appointed at 8 yearly. 
In 1727 " The toun cloak is altogether irregular 
and out of order, and the " Tolbuith steiple" so 
shaken and ruinous that the bell cannot be rung 
" without the ha/ard of dinging' doun the sclats 
and endang-ering- peoples lives." So after repair- 
ing the steeple they tried a clockmaker from Dun- 
fermline as a change. (It was not till 1789 that 
the town could boast a resident " watchmaker." 
In October, when the " Hon. Charles Leslie, Lord 
Provost," took the oath of allegiance to His 
Majesty George II., a motion was made, either 
by chance or g-ood guiding, " that for the credit 
and honour of the toun it was necessary to have 
the toun's horologe on the Tolbuith repaired, and 
the deal (dial) plates gilded and made bright." 
The " Lord Provost" took the hint and " under- 
took to doe the same upon his own chairges." 
This word horologe seemed all the go at this time. 
The mocking challenge " Yoak yer orlitch" look 
at your watch, implying the unlikelihood of your 
having one, was peculiar to Fife. 

I have not discovered when the bell was first 
obtained, but fortunately chanced on entries in the 
records of 1677, when having got cracked it was 
sent abroad to be mended. The expense was met 
by public subscription. This date corresponds 


with one on the bell. This beautiful a nil interest- 
ing- bell, now resting- in the lobby of the Town 
Hall, is said to have been purchased from Berwick, 
where it hung 1 in the tower of the Castle. The 
following inscription makes a circuit of the shoul- 
der, but it is not clear whether I-EX-LAX- is the 
beginning- or end. It may be "First, in the year" 
1595. I am told there is an estate near Berwick 
called Claster : " I - EX - LAX - 1595 - SOYPLIF 
DE - CLASTRE - 1677 - BEX - YCK - AYER - 
HER - GMJRTEX - DOR - G - H - S . . ." 
The aiithorities at the Scottish Museum could 
make nothing of this. On the side of the bell is 
a fine relief of an antique ship. 

It had been thought till 1912 that the accepted 
position of the Market Cross, marked by paving 
stones in the shape of a cross, a little to the west 
of the Town Hall, might only approximately mark 
its position, especially as it is not central but con- 
siderably to the north side* However, in relaying 
it then Mr \Yaddell, Burgh Surveyor, took the 
opportunity of examining' the foundations, and 
found that these had been substantial, of cut free- 
stone, circular, and 16 feet in diameter. There 
can be no doubt that this is the original position 
of the " Croce hous," " House of Cunxie," or 
" Tronhouse," so frequently mentioned 1604-1612 
and 1646-1663. I am inclined to think there 
would never be a sculptured cross. Speed says 
some erection in the shape of a pillory stood near 


the centre of the High Street. It would probably 
be attached to this Cross House. Some of these 
circular cross or market houses still survive in 
England. In 1609, apparently this house is 
spoken of, when James Baltraine is " put in ye 
Tron house for 24 hrs." ; and when in 1646, on 
the death of George Mareton, Town Clerk, the 
Council directs that the town's seals, books, and 
writs be recovered from the house of Cuiizie. In 
1604 it is termed "Ye Mercat Croce," in 1606 
'Ye Croce hous," in 1663 "Ye V\ est Croce 
house." (Part of the Customs may have been col- 
lected at some supplementary house at the East 
Port.) This Cross house was demolished in 1663, 
and in 1666 " Calsay " was ordered to be laid 
" where ye old croce house stood." Where the 
now house was built is not clear, biit it was nearer 
the Tolhuith. It was again removed in 1685 and 
a new one built " opposite the end of Bailie Ged's 
dyke." For several reasons I think this would 
be still further west, one of which is that in 1711 
the Cunzie is sj:okeii of as if quite close to the 




As foreshadowed in Chapter II., " Brintelin" 
from 1540 was something- more than Port us 
Saint us or Portu-s Grot ins ; it was building, fitting- 
out, and repairing war vessels; and so, when the 
English Admiral Seymour appeared in the Firth 
in J548 he " fortified Inchkeith, and destroyed 
the shipping- at Burntisland." But he did not 
remain for ever, as in 1560 another English com- 
mander, Admiral Winter, reported that he was 
attacked by the French forts at Inchkeith and 
Burntisland, and silenced those of the latter in 
self-defence. t Burntisland was one of the places 
spoiled by the French troops of Mary of Lorraine, 
as the Castle was believed to belong to Kirkaldy 
of Grange,:!: but more probably because he was a 
friend of the Melvilles, whose Protestant influ- 
ence may for the time being have ousted the 
monkly proprietor Durie. 

The Privy-Council Records show that in 1549 
every town on the Fife coast was ordered to 
" furnisch" its proportion of "400 pioneris," for 

*t John Dickson, F.S.S. Sheriff Mackay. 

WAR 95 

16 days at 2s per diem, to build a fort on Incli- 
keith for resisting- ''our old enemies of England." 
In 1614 the secret Council commissioned Eustatious 
Robertson to bring- with his boats from the Bailies, 
of Burntisland to Leith "suche peecis of airtaillerie 
as were within the toun of BrantylancL' In lo2T 
an improved defence of the East Coast and the 
Forth was seriously considered. The question was 
committed to the Earl of King-horn (his residence 
of Glamis CastleJi was still standing' in 1687 r 
when Sibbald refers to it as " the tower 011 the 
hig-ht"), Lord Malvel (of Burntisland and Moni- 
mail), Sir Georg'e Areskine of Invertiel, Earl 
Morton, and the laird of Balmowto." They were 
advised that it was necessary to fortify Aberdeen, 
Montrose, Burntisland, Inchgarvie, and Leith. 
Experts sent to Burntisland g-ave in a report on 
Sept. 13th: "We having- met at Burntisland 

haive inclynit to the opinion of James 
Traill, who thinks thair must be two bastions, 
ane on ilk side of the entrie of the harbourie 

and ane fort upon the hill above the 
toun, wliiik we have viewed, and seen to command 
Harbourie, bastions, and haill toun and other 
pairts about it, together with some other little 
defense within the Harbourie for musketters. 
And f order he thinkes the mouth of the Harbourie 
suld be cloised witli ane bomb or chain." These 
fortifications were to be paid for by the county. 

++ I a-Miiii tliis castle to have been tin- K >\;il Castle 
renovated or rebuilt in lf>.'{8. There \\eiv fn-'i castles, no 
doubt of that, but in succession on -the same sit? and re- 


More and more as time went on the riches and 
wonders of the Indies and Americas engaged the 
attention of navigators, speculators, and adven- 
turers. Many items in the Privy Records show 
that Burntisland was contributing 1 to the success 
of Britain on the seas. As examples: In 1620 
Andro "Watson, captain of the Burntisland ship 
called " The Blessing 1 " was empowered to arm and 
attack Spanish ships; and the same year ''one of 
the 3 war ships his Majesty has bought is now at 
Burntisland under charge of David Murray wait- 
ing for its compliment of mariners." In 1628 
there were constant complaints about the behaviour 
of the soldiery at Burntisland awaiting transport. 
Many entries previous to this, and for about 100 
years, were about raiisomes for captive mariners. 
In 1620 the Privy-Council directs a letter to the 
" Archbishopp, Bishoppes, and Presbiteryes " as 
well as all public bodies: " Quhairis Robert 
Cowane, maister of the schip callit the William 
of Bruntylland . . . haveing laidint his schip 
with a kynd of fische callit pilchertes in Yreland 
and being bowne thairfrae to Alicante in Spayne 
ane Turkish carvall of sax peece of ordinance 
boordit him about the break of day or ever he wes 
war of thame, and carved him his schip and equi- 
page to Tittiewane upoun the. coist of Barbarie 
quhair the said Robert and sax of his company 
was sauld to the Moires (Moors) and his schip and 
laidning wes transportit thairfrae to Algeires and 
desponit upon thair and the moires to whom the 

WAR 95 

said Robert and his sax niiserabill felknves was 
ransomed thaiine to tlirie thousand and twa hun- 
dredth merkes . . . and in the uieane tyme 
the said Robert and his company ar used as niise- 
rabill slaves and are putt to wark in a mihie 
quhair tliey are straitlie halden at worke daylie 
fra the liclit of day till night. Xothing but a 
litell dustie breade and watter, and ar schoite in 
a hoile under the earthe without bedding, yea, 
not as much as a handfull of stray to ly upoun." 
In 1674 the Council was appealed to on behalf 
of three sailors held by the " Turks at Salee," one 
of whom belonged to Burntisland, and the Council 
behaved nobly, contributing 600 dollars rd of 
the total ransom. This Salee was a notorious nest 
of pirates. In 1675 Burntisland received an order 
from the Privy-Council to collect for John Kid 
and other prisoners among the " Turks." A large 
sum was collected, but the landwart would give 
nothing. Probably thought John Kid should have 
stayed at home. However, it was arranged to try 
them again "at ye kirk door on Sabot h." This 
turned out a capital notion. They put their 
names down for 16 Us. In 1703 36 was col- 
lected at the kirk door towards the ransom of 
Dysart sailors captive in Algiers. 

From 1038 the clouds of the great civil war 
gathered darker and darker over the land. In this 
year two ships for Aberdeen entered the harbour, 
vii>pected of having "ponder and bullat," and were 


detained. The inhabitants at this time went about 
their ordinary vocations armed with sword and 
dagger. In 1641 " Forasmuckle as Sir William 
Armyne has represented to the Couiisell that one 
William Hamon, Englishman, maister of the ship 
called the William and Judith of Lundeii, has 
geviii out that when at sea he will turn pyret, the 
Lords of the Privi Counsell ordains the Baillies of 
Bmntyland, where the said William Hamon and 
his ship lies, to arrest the said ship and not to 
suffer her to go away till first the said William 
appears that order may be taken with him, and 
ordains the Baillies to tak the whole sailes of that 
ship from the roes until they hear further ther- 
inent." In 1643 General Leslie was in command 
of the Scottish troops engaged against the Irish 
rebels, and various individuals in Burntisland were 
not slow to back up the expedition. In the Privy 
Records a "George Jardin burgess in Bmntyland*' 
gives an account of what he had collected in 1643 
"to relieve the army in Ireland" : -Robert Rich- 
ardson V (500) merks, Thomas Gourlay V merks, 
Andro Watson j'" (1000) merks, and Patrick Angus 
ij (200) merks." And again in 1649: "George 
Garden baillie in Bruntyland 600; Robert Rich- 
ardson 500 merks -333 6s 8d ; John Lord Melvill 
5000 merks = 3333 6s 8d ; James Melvill of Hal- 
hill 2000 merks = 1333 6s 8d ; Andro Watson in 
Bruntyland on thousand merks ; Thomas Gourlay 
200 merks, Patrick Angus 500 merks." 

WAR 97 

In a portion of the Records now absent Speed 
found that in 1639 the fort on West Broomhill 
was provided with 22 men to man the guns, and 
25 men volunteered for the army in the South. 
At this time the camp of the Covenanters of Fife 
was formed at Burntisland, and the Duke of 
Hamilton with 19 ships made a demonstration in 
the Firth in favour of the King 1 . In 1G40 am- 
munition arrived from Holland, 15 men were sent 
to Colonel Leslie in the South and others to Colonel 
Munroe in the North. Every fourth man waa 
ordered out to defend the town, and every person 
worth 200 merks (49 in number) had to furnish 
himself with a horse. Some men who ought to 
have joined the Earl of Dunfermline's regiment, 
and did not do so, were made to stand at the 
Kirk door with rock and spindle, and then ban- 
ished. In 1641 further additions were made to 
the fortifications and Kirkcaldy ordered by the 
General Axsemblie to assist. All these guns, am- 
munition, and men were to help the Covenanters. 
This becomes plainer and very near home when in 
1645 all fit to serve were to be ready to help 
Dundee u gainst the Atholmen, and shortly after 
men were sent to Kinross to oppose the " Irish 
rebels." Montrose waa now carrying everything 
before him in the North on the side of Charles, 
had taken Perth and Aberdeen, and wound up by 
defeating the covenanting army at Kilsyth, killing 
between 4000 and 5000. From now onwards till 
Cromwell's arrival the Keconls are filled with 


matter more or less connected with war, and it is 
strange that these preparations, begun and carried 
on for years on behalf of the Covenant, should at 
the end be directed against Cromwell. In 1646 
part of Lord Cowper's regiment, encamped in 
Falkland wood, was moved to Burntisland, and in 
1647 a Captain Log'an was appointed over the 
military in Bnrntisland. In 1648 all are "invited 
to help to draw ye guuns off ye earncraig." 
George Brown is to be " Captaine of ye fencibles" 
(town's militia), who are ordered to meet fully 
armed at 8 a.m. " at ye kirk yard." A very 
depressing 1 place. On Sep. 9 " All fencible men 
were warned to wear their swords, and all the great 
g'uns about ye toun to be moimtit, and sergeants 

As the headsman of the black mask held up the 
head of Charlex the Martyr, on that cheerless 
winter morning the 30th of January, 1649, a great 
tide of feeling- set in against the roundheads. 
Schemes for the return of Charles II. were im- 
mediately vSet on foot. There is frequent mention 
in the minutes of negotiations between the Scottish 
Estates and Charles on the Continent, and after 
his arrival in Scotland in 1650. One of these 
records is a payment on account of " the King's 
ship." Sheriff Mackay notes that at this time 
Charles made a brief toiir round Fife. An entry 
early in 1652 refers to this tour: "Sixteen pounds 
ordered to be paid to John Brown for wine and 
other furniture expended in his house to the toun 

WAR 99 

when the King- was travelling- with his servants." 
The same year the town was ordered to pay a 
month's assessment along- with the other burghs 
for the expenses then incurred. On 29th Dec., 
1656, occurs: " 100 pairt payment for bringing 
home ye King." Charles had again taken to the 
Continent after the battle of Worcester. On 16th 
May, 1660, a letter was sent to the Town Council 
from the Provost of Edinburgh saying that Par- 
liament had resolved " to bring home the King," 
and requesting them to vote for a Commissioner 
to be sent from the Fife Burghs on 29th May at 
London (Charles II. entered London that day), 
and to bring 1 with him the town's part of 1000 
for promoting the King's interest. A proclama- 
tion was also issued beginning " Forasmickle as 
several persons disaffected do wickedly speak op- 
probrious words," etc., they are to be summarily 
apprehended for treason. 

To return to March 1650, the holder of the 
" North comon lands (East and West Broomhills) 
petitioned for a reduction in his rent on account 
of the building of the Forths." There had always 
been a fort on west " brumehill," and the com- 
plaint about it would be either because it was 
extended, or because of its occupation the hill 
would be liable to more traffic. The plural in 
itself shows that there was a second fort on the 
East height or "Hillhead." They would not be 
both on the West. On 15th July men are ordained 
to take ordinance out of ye ships within ye har- 


borie and to mont ym on ye forths." At the 
same time 2G men were sent to "ye ariiiie," and 
the militia Captains, Brown and Ged, ordered to 
call out the " fencible men against invasion." On 
7th August " Deals and stanes" are provided "to 
hi" 1 houses and courts of yards at the forths at 
ye Clayness (Lammerlaws point) and ye eist." On 
27th August men were sent " to take ye gunns 
out of ye ships, and place them upon ye hill 
head, and to man ye fortis." (Cromwell had now 
invaded Scotland and, after being repulsed from 
Edinburgh, retreated to Dunbar, where the Scot- 
tish army placed itself in a very favourable posi- 
tion across his road to England. The pressure of 
civilian, ministerial, and amateur advice obliged 
Leslie to leave his positions on 3rd September and 
attack the wily Oliver, when the Scots were totally 
routed.) Four days after this disaster a minute 
of the Council shows that the military authorities 
reported that for a proper defence of Burnt island 
503 men were necessary, and in October " Captain 
- arrived with a" regiment of artillerie." 
The men were quartered partly in the Tolbuith 
which had been fitted up and "whitewashed" for 
the purpose by order of the " Convention of Bur- 
rochs," who were to pay part of the cost partly 
witli families in the town, and partly in temporary 
structures. The Castle was used as headquarter^. 
Some of the minor officers made a to do about 
the quality of the food provided, and were very 
troublesome. Peace was restored bv the Council 

WAR ioi 

threatening to put them outside the town ! Dur- 
ing- the time the quartermasters were being 1 pressed 
to "keep ye people at wark on ye fortis," and 
at length the Council decided to employ women 
as well as men to expedite the work. But a com- 
plaint was now made that the Council had no 
money to pay the people with, and. on 9th Dec. 
Colonel Major Leslie visited Burntisland and per- 
suaded the Council to advance 500 Scots for this 
purpose. For some time "50 poor seafaring 1 men" 
had been watching 1 " the haill gunns about the 
toun, etc.," and were allowed daily " ilk ane twa 
pund wig-lit of meal out of ye meal magazine"; 
and on 14th April, 1651, forty seamen were keep- 
ing- " sentrie in boatis " in front of the harbour. 
Two or three days afterwards several attacks were 
made on Burntisland by g-unboats, as will appear. 
In the foreg-oing- we have the forts at the har- 
bour, the forts at the Clayness and the East, and 
the forts on the North common lands. The exact 
position of several of these forts is known. That 
at the Kast Head existed as late as 1843, as it 
appears on a map of that date, in my possession, 
drawn by the late Walter Davidson. 1 have 
spoken to those who were present at the firing- of 
guns from it in 1822 on the occasion of the arrival 
of (jieorg-e IV. at Leith. I believe two of the g-uns 
then in it are those at the Town Hall and Port. 
Some have thought these date from the Crimea, 
but that at the Town Hall was there earlier, and 
the other seems similar in design. 

WAR 103 

I reproduce a portion of a map made for the 
late Provost Ferine, in a case against the town in 
1804, which shows the East Head fort to have 
had three embrasures. On the same map, 011 the 
further side of the words "road in lieu of original," 
are the foundations of another fort, probably that 
spoken of in 1627 as. necessary for "musketters." 
The lie of it is just suitable to resist landing' 
parties, and more particularly to sweep the only 
level portion, on the left flank of the defenders, 
by which a body successful in landing- could gain 
access to the town. This fort appears on David- 
son's map and is marked fort on the map in the 
Public Library presented by Mr Stevenson. The 
third fort was on the high part of Lammerlaws 
point anciently Clayness.* Mrs M'Omish, now 
in her 90th year, remembers when the slight 
mound round the edge was several feet higher 
with apertures for guns, and was variously called 
Oliver's Knoll or the Devil's Punch Bowl. Those 
were the days of punch bowls. The Devil, "that 
patron saint of leisure hours," followed the fashion 
magnificently, and we no longer wonder that using' 
a bowl of this capacity lie required the " lang 
toon" of Kirkcaldy for a lair; we rather wonder 
he got so far. It is said the witches were burned 
on Galhncx Hill near by, but I think Gala is more 

*This picturesque promontory was recognised a.s important 
as oarly as 1595. An entry then in the Privy-Council Records 
runs : " . . . appointed keepers of the haven Brintiland 
and Claynes- David Clark and Johnne Clappen indwellers of 


likely. Anyhow "it was meet" that this head- 
land should be thought suitable for a vitriol works. 
These works, occupying with their workmen's 
houses a great part of the Lammerlaws, were of 
considerable importance, and pains were taken to 
keep the methods of manufacture secret. The 
Company had a copper coin or token, now known 
as the Burntisland halfpenny, with the date 1797 
on the reverse. The Gateway, a house, and 
ruined kiln are still to the fore. There is nothing 
to show where the other fort on the east of the 
town was, nor of that on East Broomhill, but the 
glacis of that on West Broomhill is plain enough, 
a natural slope near the summit having been arti- 
ficially evened so as to allow no foothold, and the 
crest in front of the guns being sloped like that 
of a ravelin, to command the foot of the hill. It 
is not clear if the fort on the West Head or Island, 
advised in 1627, was built, but tradition has it 
that the name Half-Moon given to the house at 
the entrance to Cromwell's Pier was derived from 
a defence there called the Half -Moon Battery. 

As regards the number of guns in the forts, 
Cromwell's statement that he had taken three or * 
four small men of war and 30 or 40 guns, is very 
indefinite. Were the guns in the men of war or 
in the forts:' As already seen, the Harbour mouth 
and West Broomhill were permanent fortifications 
dating from 1627, and the latter was manned in 
1639, and must Lave had its complement of artil- 
lery, -so that the guns dragged from the Earn 

WAR 105 

Craig- in 1648 and those taken out of the ships in 
July and August 1650, to be mounted on the 
" Forths" and " Hill Head," were not for them. 
Then the forts at the " Clayness and ye eist" ap- 
pear to have their guns on August 7th. In Sept., 
1650, there were four known forts for great guns, 
with possibly other two, the West Head and Half- 
Moon say six. Six forts with three guns apiece 
is 18 guns. Hut it can be seen in the Council 
Records that after the Dunbar rout great efforts 
were made to make the place truly formidable. 
As Cromwell caine nearer these efforts increased. 
I find from the Privy Council Records that in 1651 
fourteen more guns were added to the fortifica- 
tions: " Anent ane supplicature presented be 
James Hill, skipper in Queensferrie, desyring a 
warand to Major General Morgan for causing de- 
lyver to him fourtein gunns, taken out of the 
vessel called the Hopeweill of Kirkcaldie, in anno 
j r vj and fii'iie aiie (1651) and placed upon the 
forts of Bruntiland . . . which being seized 
upon be the Inglishes are now in the cittiedaill 
of Leith . . ." The estimate of 18 added to 
these 14 makes 32, a number so suggestive of 
Cromwell's, as to make it almost certain he was 
speaking of the guns in the forts when he gave 
"30 or 40." 




It appears from Cromwell's letter cii his plan, 
to reach Perth and cut off the supplies of Charles 
at Stirling that the possession of Burntislancl was 
indispensable, and Mackay says Major-General Sir 
John Brown had also this view, but unfortunately 
seemed to think that it would be taken by landing 
troops, and therefore had his small Scottish army 
disposed to meet this. But Oliver would know 
that though he might reduce the town from the 
sea there was no room for maneuvering an army 
behind Burnt island. 

According to Carlyle, Blackness being surren- 
dered (Lament says in the end of March), Inch- 
garvie was beset with gunboats previous to the 
16th April, and at the same time orders were 
given to attack Burntisland by sea. As we have 
seen, on 14th April 40 seamen were keeping sentry 
in boats outside the harbour. On 19th April there 
is a report from the correspondent of the J)(tily 
Intellegencer : ' We heard the great guns go off 
apace from Burntisland. Our men with the boats 
made two attempts upon it." !Xext day he writes: 
' The ships with Leith forces continually alarm 
Burntisland, making shews to attempt the taking 
of it.' Barbieri savs Burntisland was first at- 


tacked by a flotilla of gunboat.:, but they failed. 
No doubt Cromwell fully intended from the first 
to carry his troops over at Queensferry, fight a 
battle on chosen ground, and prcc?ed to the heights 
in Hie rear of Burntisland which commanded it. 
It is evident from Carlyle that though Cromwell 
lay ill after the Capitulation of Edinburgh that 
he was having material and transports collected 
at Leith ready to begin operations at Queensferry 
after the fall of Blackness Castle. 

On the 17th Colonel Overtoil crossed the Forth 
at (Queensferry with 1400 foot and some horse, and 
on the 18th and 10th Lambert followed with two 
regiments of horse and two of foot. On the latter 
date " baith men and women " are still working- 
hard on the " fort is " at Burntisland. Xext day 
(Sunday) the battle of Pitreavie was fought. 
Cromwell wrote ''^000 were slain . . . an 
unspeakable mercy . . " and concluded by 

hoping- to be " delivered from the oppression of 
man." Immediately aft?r Pitreavie, Cromwell 
marched on the south side to Bannockburn, 
" hearing that the enemy were marched on the 
other side towards our forces in Fife." But hear- 
ing of Cromwell's movement, they returned hur- 
riedly and rcoccupied the works at Bannockburn. 
Cromwell then finding it not advisable to "attempt 
the works" returned to Queensferry, and shipped 
a further portion of his army into Fife, his settled 
idea now being to interpose his army between 


Stirling 1 and St Johnstone (Perth) when Burnt- 
islaml had fallen. 

The morning' after that awful Sunday at Pit- 
reavie Burntisland Town Council had an attack 
of the nerves, and forthwith dispatched " Andro 
Hutchison to the King's Majestie (at Stirling) to 
represent ye great dang'er of this toim being taken 
be ye enemie" and wanted to know "what we shall 
doe if we be assaulted." On the 24th extra 
.soldiers from Dundee arrived, and Barbieri says 
100 celebrated archers were sent from Perth, 
" dead shots at 500 fathoms." A long bow to 

On the 27th Oliver's army was encamped in 
front of Kilmundy and Place House in the rising- 
part of the field called the English Kiiowe to this 
day. Water stood permanently in the hollows now 
drained into the troug'h on the high road. Some 
communication had taken place, as on the Council 
meeting, two of their number are " ordained to 
speak with my Lord Burgly" (perhaps Lord 
Berkeley), after which they coolly appoint " a 
common breaker of unfreemen's flesh," and a 
Commissioner to the " General Assemblie" at St 
Andrews. The town must have capitulated this 
day, the 27th, as Cromwell dates a letter on the 
28th at Burntisland, having' crossed from Leith. 
On that day two Bailies and 13 Councillors met, 
but no business is recorded merely their names. 
On the 29th Cromwell writes another letter from 
Burntisland to the Speaker : 


" Sir, 

The greatest part of the army is now in Fife waiting 
what way God will further lead us. It hath pleased God 
to give us Brunt Island, wihich is very conducive to the 
carrying out of our affairs. The town is well seated, pretty 
strong, but marvellous capable of further improvement 
. . . Harbour at high tide is near a fathom deeper than 
at Leith. . . . We took 3 or 4 small men of war and 
I believe 30 or 40 guns. Commisary Gen. Whalley marched 
along the sea side in Fife . . . The enemy's affairs are 
in some discomposure. . . . Surely the Lord will blow 
upon them." 

One would like to know the terms of surrender 
"exacted" from Cromwell. In Lamout's Diary 
occurs the following; under date July 29th, 1651 : 
" Bruntillande did render to the English armie, 
the garesone ther had libertie to goe foorth with 
fleeing 1 coullers and bag'e and bag-gage." Farnie 
gives a local joke that the capitulation was pre- 
cipitated because the first shot fired entered a china 
shop owned by the Provost. Every writer has 
repeated the story that Cromwell promised to build 
what is called Cromwell's Pier and to pave the 
High Street. He certainly originated neither. 
The pier then named the West Bulwark was there 
in 1600, and in 1646 the Council Records show 
that it was undergoing extensive repairs with wood 
and stone. Speed shows that after the surrender a 
small amount of national taxation usually paid by 
the town was allowed to be applied to the repair of 
the harbour, and for one year only a small grant 
from the exchequer, equal to six months' assess- 
ment, amounting to 33 sterling. The town's 
proportion of the repairs to the harbour came to 


584 sterling. Even Sheriff Mackay writes of the 
paving of the street as due to Cromwell, but I have 
seen entries about this long- before the siege. The 
County urged it for long 1 , and were to share the 
expense. In spite of the Council's hands being' 
full with the fortifications, under great pressure 
from the County authorities, the Council on 9th 
December, 1650, "resolved to big' ane Calsay from 
ye Tolbuith to ye eist port, and ordained two 
loads of stones a day to be brocht in." All the 
same, though the paving 1 was begun, it was not 
until the end of 1651 that a contract was accepted 
to complete the work. Lament writes in 1652 : 

Ruins of Lonsdale. Cromwell's hou-e (with the permission 
of Miss K. J. Kirke). 


"The towne of Bruntileande began to be cassaed 
opon the towne's charges; a great part of it was 
finished this year. It never rains but it pours! 
in 1659 'A Calsay' was built in the Back Street 
with a 'gutter in ye midis.' 

Cromwell could barely have been more than the 
two days mentioned 28th and 29th July in 
Burntisland, as on 4th August he writes from Leith 
advertising the surrender of Perth, on August 2nd, 
at which he was present, and saying he was "hast- 
ing up" southwards with the main body of the 
troops now in motion. It was the news of Charles' 
dash for the South which obliged him to leave 
Scotland. Cromwell is said to have lived in a 
house, now demolished, at the Grange Quarry. 
His departure was a relief to the Council, and they 
would have been still better pleased if his works 
had followed him. On 6th August first meeting 
since the surrender there is a -deep grumble at the 
great charges "be ye English garison heir." This 
grumble continued for nine years, through the 
Commonwealth, Cromwell and Richard, till some 
time after the Restoration. 

The stereoscope from which the illustration 
of Cromwell's house is copied was taken about 
18(50 by the late Robert Kirke of Greeninount, and 
is one of a series of the neighbourhood made by 
him, some of which, like this, are now of great 
interest. The position of this house, at the Grange 
quarry, was in the immediate rear of the English 


Camp, and on the road to St Johnstone, as Crom- 
well called Perth, and for which he set out pro- 
bably on the 29th July. It was, therefore, just 
where a general in the field, with not a moment to 
lose, ought to have been. The notion that Crom- 
well slept at the Castle has arisen solely from the 
fact that the Castle was for many years the head- 
quarters of his garrison. 

The garrison of the Commonwealth (1652) con- 
sisted at Burntisland of three companies of 100 men 
each, partly horse, partly foot. The Castle was 
their headquarters, and the first commandant 
Colonel Lilburn. He was second in command in 
Scotland under Deane, and completed the subjuga- 
tion of Scotland by his invasion of Argyle. He 
succeeded Deane as Commander-in-Chief in 1654. 
There was a Captain Rogers in the Castle in 1656. 

From 1638 to 1651 = 13 years, Burntislancl had 
been having more than the usual share of war's 
alarms, and one would have thought some comfort 
and peace would be got, but it had still nine long 
years of military rule. It was a fearful tyranny. 
JS^o one could cross the ferry in the town's boats 
without a permit from the military. These boats 
were used for military transport under promise of 
payment which was never made. Forty-two years 
after the Restoration Bailie Ged reminded the Earl 
of Leven that nothing had ever been paid Burnt- 
island for these transport services. The Tolbuith 
and everv house in the town was crammed with 


"Inglishes." The "maintainance" tax on the 
better class of burgesses, to help to feed these, was 
very serious. The minute books are filled with 
cases against the soldiers for "cursing- and blas- 
pheming the baillies," assaults by them, even 
murders, and petitions to have them removed. 
Lamont gives numerous instances of the raiding' 
done by troopers from Burntisland to different 
parts of Fife for the purpose of seizing- men, horses, 
and arms. In 1059 Captain Marviell was at the 
Castle, and a complaint was addressed to him about 
"ye officers and their wyffs and bairns" the latter 
'evidently being- looked on as the last straw and 
the rents of the "courts of yairds" (probably tem- 
porary stables) not being- enoug-h. As late as 1660 
liailie Moncriei is sent to Major-General Morg-an 
to try once more to get the soldiers removed. It 
was only in July 1657, four years after the appoint- 
ment of Cromwell as Lord Protector, that he was. 
proclaimed as such, and then without outward signs 
i Joy- 

During- the war with the Dutch, 1664-1674, the 
Council books are thick with demands for recruits 
for the army and navy. In 1664 the Privie Council 
orders the names of 12 men to be submitted for 
the navy, of whom 10 are selected; and in 1672 
another 12 men. These are only examples of many. 
Early in 1668 arms were procured and paid for by 
the town for 45 men, of whom two-thirds were 
armed with " muskitts and bandolliers" and one- 
third witli sword and pike. These men were part 


of 205 militia provided by the town, 1GU being 1 
armed by the Government. They bad a uniform 
with colours, drums, and halberts. The name 
" militia " was now officially usetl for the first 
time, and while formerly the service was strictly 
local, the body might now be moved elsewhere. 
Its first march out was to Aucktertool. There 
w r ere two captains Bailies Ged and Dewar. The 
first step in the movement was taken on June 
10th, 1667, when "the haill Burgesses and inhabi- 
tants fencible men" were "warned to compeir 
before the magistrates wli their armes in the Kirk- 
yard, at two houres in ye afternooiie," or bring 1 
20 of penalty. The town seemed to enter into 
these measures with enthusiasm, and for good 
reason ; Burntisland itself, two months earlier, had 
been the special objective of a Dutch Squadron. 
The following 1 is from the town's records: "Mun- 
<lay lo April, 1667, This Burgh being- assaulted be 
ye comon enemie Sunday to AVitt ane squadron of 
ye Dutch shipps who being 1 by God's providence 
removed" the Council appeals to the Lord Commis- 
sioner his g-race to provide ye inhabitants with 
arms and ordinance and r.mmunitioiie for ye 
fortis." Pepys in his diary under May oth 
says: "Sir W. Coventry tells me the Dutch 
fleet shot some shot, four or five hundred 
into Burnt Island in the Firth, but without 
any hurt, and so are gone." Even fireside 
fire-eaters were startled at this unlooked-for 
attack, as the minute sets forth that " some 


fencible men did nie furth of this Burgh 
burgesses of this Burgh, some with arms some 
without arms." There was one man not caught 
napping;, Captain Kobert Dewar, who was able 
to supply the authorities with sufficient am- 
munition to assure the Dutch that if they lauded 
there would be opposition. Shortly afterwards 
the inevitable account appears from Dewar "for 
poudre and balls for the defense of the town from 
the Dutch." Xew great guns and ammunition 
were immediately supplied by the Government. 

The people yearned after' peace to keep their 
shops, and in spite of their experience in unpre- 
pared ness for war, the first rainbow's lovely form 
banished dull care. In 1714, probably in view of 
the expected Jacobite revival, a committee was 
appointed to examine the town's arms. They re- 
ported that of 84 guns, 74 had no locks, 70 of these 
were otherwise not mendable, and of 12 guns of a 
different pattern with "12 pykes" most were bad: 
The whole rousted spoylled and altogether out 
of order." The year following- that of the 
Jacobite rising a Government ship was in the 
harbour with warlike stores, and Lord St Clair of 
Dysart, who commanded some troops in the Stuart 
cause, getting wind of this, brought some men 
from Perth and managed to walk off with ttOO stand 
of arms. This was not the only service Burnt- 
island rendered, if unwillingly, to the "Old Cheva- 
lier." In 171-') the Karl of Mar, in his successful 
attempt to cress the Firth at (Vail with 1 (>!)() High- 


landers, occupied Burnt island, and made a great 
show of increasing 1 the defences there, which had 
the intended effect of drawing 1 the fleet of Sir 
George Byiig to Burntisland, "where he cannon- 
aded a battery formed on a height, and shelled the 
old Castle of the Buries of that ilk." There is a 
picture of this event in Cassell's British Jiattlcs by 
La/itl tiniJ 8ca. Perhaps Burntisland may claim 
to be the last town in the British Isles to have 
suffered bombardment. Paul Jones visited the 
Firth in 1779, but, I understand, he never fired a 
shot. A providential storm drove him seawards 
and answered the prayers of the good Mr Shirra on 
Path head sands. The prayers of the righteous 
availeth much. If there were any righteous, 
Shirra was one. Mr Russell, of Edinburgh, tells 
me his great-great-grandfather, who was a bailie 
of Burntisland, often walked with his wife to Kirk- 
caldy to hear Shirra. On one occasion he fell 
asleep, when Shirra stopped and cried out: "Stand 
up, Bailie Scott, and that'll pit the sleepin' aft* 


It is thus plain that privilege and penalty are 
complimentary, and side by side like the nettle and 
the "docken blade." The burdens imposed by the 
necessities of war were very serious from 1638 to 
1715, both for local and national defence. The 
damage from Cromwell's occupation was immense. 
For raising the two companies of militia in 1G68 
the town paid 616 9s lOd. This was by voluntary 
contribution from the inhabitants, and it did not 


square accounts. Every year men were demanded 
for the army and navy. In one year (1670) 16 men 
were sent to the army. In place of a man the 
Government accepted 48. So that 16 men worked 
out at 768. The price of a man was sometimes 
paid by charging those liable so much per head. 
On one occasion this share was 10s. The men were 
balloted for with dice. As an example of what 
went on : In 1 693 the fencible men were divided 
into 6 companies of 30 men each, and one out of 
each balloted for the army. Sixteen of their 
fellow-townsmen, fully armed, took them to 
Colonel Mackay's regiment at Cupar, but o of 
them were pronounced unfit. Other 5 were then 
"seized" (probably good men the ballot does not 
distinguish). These were sent to the same regi- 
ment, now at Stirling, when one was found unfit. 
"On which the bailie who accompanied the re- 
cruits" gave Major Arnot 2 guineas "when the 
man was found to do." 




The present Parish Church was built on account 
of the smallness and inconvenient situation of the 
church at the Kirkton, and by agreement with 
King' James V. on his erecting the town into a 
Royal Bur'h that the burgesses should build a 
sufficient church. David I. in 1130 granted to 
Dunferinline Abbey "the Kingorn whicli is the 
nearer to Dunfermlyng." At this time the parish 
of Burntisland was called the Parish of Wester 
K inborn, and Speed says that in 1243 the two 
churches of Easter and Wester Kin^orn and the 
double parish were dedicated to St Adanman. The 
Rev. Mr Chalmers, in his list of churches and 
chapels belonging to Dunfermline Abbey, de- 
scribes the church of Wester Kinorn as bein>' the 
Kirkton Church, Burntisland, and shows it to have 
been confirmed to the Abbey by Pope Lucius III. 
in 1184. He describes the church of K inborn 
Parva (little) as bein' that of Kinghorn Easter, 
and by inference the Kirkton Church to be Kin- 
"orn Magna. Chalmers was conscientious and 
well acquainted with the old documents by which 
he came to this conclusion. Yet speed says the 


Kirkton Church was the church of little King-- 
horn, and Sheriff Mackay calls it St Serf, parva, 
King-horn. These authorities differing as to 
whether Easter or Wester King'orn was parr a, in 
the hope of clearing' the matter up, I consulted the 
Pontifical of Bishop de Bernam, edited by Charles 
Wordsworth, M.A., the original of which, in the 
Bibliotheque Xationale, Paris, was used by the 
Bishop in consecrating- or re-dedicating 1 140 Parish 
Churches in Scotland. On the fly-leaves of it are 
written the names of these churches and the dates 
on which they were consecrated. In Wordsworth's 
translation, under the year 1243, appears the fol- 
lowing' : 

"Keel, de mag'iui King'orn. eodem anno xvj. Kal. 
Jim ij (17th May) 

Keel, de parua King'orn. eodem anno xiiij. Kal. 
Tun. ij (10th May)" 

The Pontifical, therefore, does not show that parva 
was Wester, but the editor explains that "King'orn 
parva was Burntisland" without indicating- his 
source of information. Xor does De Bernam say 
that either church was dedicated to St Serf. 

Dr James Gammack, of Drumlithie, was an 
authority on early Scottish church dedications, but 
1 could find nothing- about St Serf in his "Lecture 
on Hag-iolog-y before the Diocesan Club, Aber- 
deen." However, I have no doubt lie had some- 
thing to do with fixing- on the Kirkton Church as 
having- been dedicated to St Serf. He addresses 


his printed lecture to Alexander Penrose Forbes, 
D.C.L., Bishop of Brechin. Many years ago I 
photographed a pag-e of an illuminated Irish Gaelic 
prayer-book which Bishop Forbes said was about 
1000 years old. Bishop Forbes was a brother of 
the Kev. George Hay Forbes, incumbent of St 
Serf's, Burntisland, who certainly was the first to 
apply or restore, in modern days, the name of St 
Serf to the original church at Burntisland. Words- 
worth gives Forbes the credit of first editing the 
text of the Pontifical; and Dr Lockhart, in his 
"Church of Scotland in the 13th Century," says 
Forbes had printed the Pontifical in his own press 
at Burntisland, called the Pitsligo Press. I hare 
a list of 41 classes of type used in this press, in- 
cluding Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Armenian, 
Ethiopic, and Greek. Mr Forbes once told me of 
the delight lie had experienced on perusing the 
original Pontifical in Paris, the very book used in 
124-3 by L)e Bernam in consecrating- the church at 
the Ivirkton, little dreaming- that one day I would 
have to puzzle over it. (I may here point out that 
some authorities on church architecture think the 
present ruinous church was built in the loth cen- 
tury on the site of the one here referred to). Xo 
doubt Gammack or Forbes decided that the Ivirk- 
ton Church was St Serf on the ground that it was 
2)<in-it Kingorn Church, supposed to have been 
dedicated to St Serf. We must return then to the 
question, which of the two churches was parva. 
The extract from the Pontifical shows that Bishop 


<le 1'ernam was at Kingorn Magna on the IGtli of 
the calends of June (May ITth), and at Kingorn 
parva on the 14th of the calends of June (May 
19th). The reason for the first appearing 1 in the 
Latin to be at a later date than the second is 
because the Romans, instead of saying- "the 17th 
of the month of May," said that day was the 16th 
day counting- backwards from the 1st of June. If 
the reader takes an almanack and ticks oft' June 1st 
and the last 15 days of May he will arrive at the 
]7th of May; and taking- June 1st and 13 days of 
May, he gets 19th May. De Bernam visiting Kin- 
gorn Magna first, it may have some bearing on 
whether magna was Kinghorn or Burntisland. 
David Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews, did not 
begin this special work in 1243 at St Andrews. 
Lockhart shows that he commenced at the Borders 
in March, and worked his way gradually north, 
consecrating many church, until he arrived at 
Katho, from which he continued along the south 
of the Forth westwards to Carriden (May 7th), and 
was at Airtli, near Stirling, On May 10th. Seven 
days afterwards (May 17th) he was at Magna Kin- 
gorn, and at Parva Kingorn on the 19th. Where 
was he on the six days between May 10 and 17th? 
Did he go round by Stirling and Dunfermline, 
where he had not yet been, to reach Burntisland 
and Kinghorn ; or did he retrace his steps on the 
south side of the Firth to cross to Burntisland, or 
Kinghorn;' Judging from his methodical charac- 
ter, lie would come by Dmit'cnnliiic, and, even if he 


came by Edinburgh, the direction of his journey 
favours the idea that he would take Burntisland 
on route to Kinghorn. In which case Magna 
Kin "horn would be Burntisland. 

The two King-horns occur very frequently in the 
Chartulary of Dunfermline, but only at one place 
could I see anything to favour the view that puma 
Kinghorn was Burntisland. In a list of the 
Abbey's possessions made for taxing- purposes, 
parva is given before mag-iia in an apparent passage 
Eastward. But this may be accidental, as the 
method does not seem to be followed throughout. 

There is a tradition that St Serf met his superior 
St Adamnan on Inchkeith, and was directed to 
convert the land of Fife. He would land at King- 
horn as being- so much nearer than Burntisland, 
and if either of these places received his name it 
should have been that he began his missionary 
labours in. 

As already seen, the Kirkton Church was con- 
firmed to the Abbey by the Pope in 1184. AVhy, 
then, should I)e Bernam, on 21st Dec. 1240 (only 
56 years later) grant it ag-ain to the Abbey? 
Lockhart says Little Kingorn was granted on that 
date. Little Kinghorn must be Easter King-horn. 

Sheriff Mackay thinks there would be a church 
at the Kirkton before 1130, and it has been thought 
that its site would be a little to the Avest in the 
adjoining glebe, as there are foundations there 
several feet under the surface. These, however, 


nre more likely to be the foundations of the manse. 
The minister lived at the Ivirkton till 1657. Many 
coins of Charles I. an;l Louis XIV. have been 
found in and around these foundations. .Recently 
Mr Ednie, gardener, came on a pile of them rusted 
into a mass of about 2 inches high, as if they had 
been made up so in paper. i have seen a coin 
obtained here about 20 years ago, which is a turner 
or bodle of Charles i. This coin continued in use 
during the Commonwealth, and it is possible that 
though the chief part of Cromwell's army, previous 
to the fa]] of Burntisland, was encamped higher up 
near Place House, a portion may have been here 
(the Roundheads looked on occupying and pillag- 
ing manses or churches as merely spoiling the 
Egyptians), and have left unintentionally these 
relics of their conduct. The presence of coins of 
the Georges must be accounted for otherwise. 

On the night variously given as the 12th, 10th r 
and l!)th March, 12SG, King Alexander III. passed 
through Kirkton on his way from Inverkeithing to 
his Castle at Km<>horn. He would stop and per- 
form his devotions in the church, an invariable 
custom with travellers in those days. A storm was 
raging and darkness had fallen when the King 
readied the Kirkton, and his retinue are said to 
have tried to persuade him to proceed no further, 
lint Joleta, daughter of the Count de Dreux, his 
new Queen, to whom lie had been married only a 
few months, was expecting him. No one now 
believes the Kiny fell over the cliff. Had the 


party crossed the hills, the accident and the King's 
position would have been guessed when the Castle 
was reached and the King then discovered absent. 
The route followed on such a night of storm and 
darkness would be the usual one, direct from the 
Kirktou to "Xo Thoroughfare," and by the beach 
to the shoulder of the Kinnesswood hill, where the 
old track ascended to the height of the present 
road. In the darkest night the shoulder of the hill 
would be seen from below against the sky, and on 
seeing it the impetuous Alexander must have 
ascended the slope about 50 yards to the left of the 
usual place. His horse would fall and in some way 
kill the King, just in rear of the rock called the 
''black stane." His companions would not know 
where he had separated from them, and even in 
daylight his body would be invisible from the track 
below. The tide was probably searched for him. 
A burgess of Kinghorn, but outlawed, Murdock 
Schanks, wandering on the hills above in the early 
morning, observed some unusual object behind the 
"black stane," and, descending, discovered it to be 
the body of the King. He carried the news to the 
Castle, and for this service Eobert the Bruce be- 
stowed on Schank's descendants" the lands of 
Castlerigg, Kinghorn, which still belong to the 
family. This "black stane," before the road 
behind it, and the railway embankment in front of 
it, were constructed, stood 10 or 15 feet out of the 


Anciently the road from Aberdour, after ascend- 
ing- Mains Hill (Lc Main* was an early name of the 
district east of it), passed the front of Dalachy 
Cottages, Newbigging, and Place House, and 
turned at right angles down to the Kirkton Kirk. 
The road thence to Kinghorn proceeded first to 
Meadowfield and skirted the foot of the slope in 
front of Binn House to Cot-burn-dale. Portions of 
this road were substantially built of stone, being 
round the edge of a marsh. The road appeared 
again along the foot of the Delves, and crossed the 
shoulder of the black rock east of Xo Thorough- 
fare. Later, when the road came from Meadow- 
field through the gap between Black Jock's Hill 
and the Knaps, there was still a wide stretch of 
water on both sides of the road. I have seen this 
on a map probably drawn prior to 1800. In the 
18th century and till 1843 the road from Burnt- 
island to Kirkcaldy passed almost exactly over the 
road in front of Craigholm, by Gladstone Place, 
Kirkebank, and up the defile to the (jolf C'ourse, 
through which it passed over the present road 
there. A road to Kirkcaldy by the 'School Meadows 
or Hurley Shot and Binnend is indicated in 
Watson's will of 1684. 




Architecturally, Burntisland Parish Church is 
unique -in Britain anyhow. Succeeding' genera- 
tions have ruminated over the origin of its design. 
Blunt, 'squat, radical, it seems to flout the schools 
from the Egyptian to the Gothic. If the so-called 
pagoda or commemorative tower of the Chinese had 
be?n square instead of octagonal, and hut a single 
gallery in its tower, it would have served as a good 
pattern. This blend of the barbarous and the 
simple may have crept along- the north of Asia to 
^Norway, where there is a considerable number of 
ecclesiastical edifices, whose ground plan is square 
or circular, with the tower rising 1 out of the centre, 
St Paul's fashion. This elemental form, compris- 
ing 1 indubitably leng'th, breadth, and thickness, 
appealed to the broad-beamed denizens of Holland, 
and evidently met with the approval of the Burnt- 
islanders. Tradition long' declared the church to 
be an imitation of the North Church of Amster- 
dam, l:ut it appears on inquiry there is no resem- 
blance. Lt lias recently been told me by t\vo sea- 
g'oing' persons that an exact replica exists in 


I have attempted to verify this by addressing 
the minister of the Church of Scotland in Rot- 
terdam, but have received no reply, though enclos- 
ing a three-penny stamp. It ought to be easy to 
find if there is such a church there, as it has 
recently become a local fashion to spend the annual 
holiday in one or other of the coast towns of Hol- 
land, taking one of the vessels now trading between 
there and Burntisland. I have seen a picture of 
St Catherine's at Montneur, almost identical with 
our Parish Church. 

The church, which was erected at the expense 
of the town was begun in 1592, and the walls 
and arches must have been finished in 1595, as 
the Council then decides on "ye reparation of ye 
new kirk," and to "complete ye stepill." All 
the same ''ye stepill" was not completed till .1749, 
a small wooden belfry doing duty till then. Sir 
Kohert Sibbald saw the church like this about 
1080, when he described it as "a fine square 
structure with a pavilion roof after the modern 
fashion." This inability to proceed with the tinvei- 
just at once may have been a blessing in disguise, 
for Sibbald relates elsewhere that "on Thursday, 
8th November, 1008," when the mortar would 
have been barely set, "there was in Fife an Earth- 
quake betwixt nine an ten hours at even, which 
lasted about a quarter of an hour, that it terrified 
all the persons within the towns of Couper, Xew- 
burgli, Dunferniling, Brunt island, and others 
within Fife." " Ye reparation decided on in 1595 


cannot have been carried far, as in 1602 "Ye 
bailleis counsall and coinmitee of ye said burgh 
being publiclie warnit be sound of drum and coii- 
venit in ye kirk ... all in aiie voice . 
that ye kirk salbe dressit and apparrollit within 
and montit witli sufficient staiie (pavement in the 
next minute) and \veill furneicit wt sufficient seatis 
round about for men and \vemin" ; and to this 
end they agreed to put a stent 011 the " haill 
inhabitants." But few fixed seats for general 
purposes could have been supplied. Few existed 
in the centre of the church till well into the 18th 
century, this part being- reserved for the women 
folks of the craftsmen, who carried stools with 
them to each service. Mrs Balingall told me that 
even in her day there were many loose forms in 
spaces such as that at the entrance, first seated 
in 1862, and a good number of high-backed chairs, 
said to date from Charles First, in the passages. 
( hie minister, accepting a call to a better place, 
took as a memento six of these with him. He 
was ordered to return them, but if he did there 
are none now. 

The roof was still unceiled in 1G06, five years 
after the visit of the King, and in 1609 the Council 
contracted with two men " for sclaitting- ye kirk 
roof for auchtfoir libs money scots." The pulpit 
said to have been similar to that of Holy Trinity, 
Edinburgh, and the seat of Sir Robert Melville of 
Burntisland Castle, now used by the Magistrates, 
were both built in 1606. 


Standing- alone architecturally, Buriitislaml 
Church has claims to interest not to be shared in 
the fact that within its walls King 1 James first 
indicated his intention of having- a new translation 
of the Bible. In another respect it stands alone. 
It is the only Scottish church where the positions, 
of all the guild seats remain distinctly marked, 
and where the insignia or appropriate pictures used 
by them still exist in their original positions, 
though in several churches the situations of one 
or two of the guild seats are roughly known and 
accounts remain of what the insignia or mottoes 
were. One only original painting of this nature 
of all these has been discovered that preserved 
in the Session-house of Crail Parish Church. It 
had been used face down to repair the floor of 
the church in 1815, and was discovered there in 
1878. A M-r Scott remembered it to have been 
in the sailors' loft. The picture, which is in oil, 
oil a panel 17 inches by 11 inches, represents, 
according to " Memorials of Crail Churchyard," 
in which a photograph of it may be seen, a sailor 
" with an astrolabe." The instrument is, how- 
ever, a quadrant. Though the loft of which this 
picture formed a part existed in 1656 the painting- 
is assigned to 1756, I suppose mainly on account 
of the nightcap the figure wears. In the first 
half of the 18th century the wearing of nightcaps 
and other night-wear during the day became a 
fad. Even the fair sex got infected and enthusi- 
astically decked themselves in spiritualised night 


"ear of various sorts. But seafaring folks, to 
circumvent tlie winds, have worn semi-cowls, re- 
sembling the well-known Kilmarnock nightcap, 
from time immemorial, and fishermen do so yet. 

Had there been no Secession in 1736 and no 
Disruption in 1843, Hurntisland Church would 
have been structurally altered out of recognition. 
At these dates the church was packed, and without 
this timely emigration must have been extended. 
And had the Session been financially fit when the 
alterations of 1822 were made, involving the erec- 
tion of a new north gallery, the destruction of the 
carved and gilded canopies above the heritors' 
seats, a new pulpit, new pavement, painting, etc., 
at a cost of 800, they might have renewed the 
remaining three galleries to make them uniform. 
Most fortunately they could not afford even to 
have the pictures scraped oft', and merely painted 
them over. The fact that plenty paint was used, 
and in repeated doses, in the effort to obliterate 
the pictures, served only the better to preserve 

Of the carved canopies and pulpit there remains 
only one small piece, its preservation being due 
io the antiquarian instincts of Miss Kirk, Hilton, 
in whose possession it now is. Miss Kirk has 
kindly given me permission to photograph it, and 
a facsimile is here shown. 


It has 



general belief that the 
Starleybank is of a 
similar design to the 
original pulpit and 
lined with part of it. 
The proprietor, D. T. 
Moir, Esq., was kind 
enough k> show me 
this interesting 
house, lined with 
beautiful old oak 
panels of various pat- 
terns, which would 
have b?en turned 
into firewood but for 
the care of Mr 
Hutchison, Session 
Clerk. However, 

Mrs Balingall, his 
daughter, assured me 
that the house was 
built jiist prci'iinix to 
Portion of the oKf canopies or pulpit. ]$Q2, when a great 

many of the pews had their fronts renewed, 
and the use of these for lining was an after- 
thought. Still, it is possible Mr Hutchison, 
deeply attached to the church with which he had 
been so long connected, may have possessed some 
portions of the pulpit destroyed in 1822 and have 
used these as well as those of 1802, which might 
account for so persistent a rumour. 

Ground plan of Burntislund Parish Church, 1822. 




A. Passage to stairs F and 8. 

B. Minister's seat. 

C. Aytoun of Grange. 

D. Alexander Chaplin's seat. 

E. Duiiearu. 

F. To tailors and schoolmas- 

ter's loft. 

G. Grange. 

H. Grange later Dick's Trust 

I. Provo-tt Speed. 

J. Xewbigging. 

K. Ged's Mill. 

L. Temporary sacramental 

M. Route followed by com- 

N. Seats used at the Lord's 

C). Burntisland Castle. 

P. Proprietor of National 

Q. Lammerlaws vitriol works. 

R. Grange. 

S. Dick's Trust. 

T. Whinnyhall. 

U. Sea Farm and Mills. 

V. Nether Grange. 

W. Weavers. 

X. Fleshers. 

Y. Binnencl. 

Z. Dodhead. 

&. Grindlay's. 

2. Council seat. 

3. Shoemakers. 

4. Stair to Guildry, sailors, 

maltmen, and Baxters 

5. Position of " Old r.'.nu's 


6. Baptism administer! :i in 

the passage here. 

8. Hammermen's stair. 

9. John Watson's seat in this 

A2. Strangers' iseat. 

10. Prime Guild stair (page 


From descriptions of people still alive or re- 
cently dead, a plan of the church seats of 1862, 
and books of the Guildry, Hammermen, and Town 
Council, I am able to present an almost complete 
plan of the church seats previous to the alterations 
of 1822. The present pulpit and pulpit stair 
were built then. The old pulpit was not so high 
nor did the stair come outside the pillars. As 
the alterations or renovations did not change the 
writings, we may consider that this plan shows 
very closely the state of the church sittings in 


1727. Between 1700 and 1727 the seats D., H. r 
I., those from Y. to the south wall, those behind 
B. and C., and several in the unknown space 9, 
w?re built. Those marked " X " were probably 
built after 1727. Were all these left out we 
would have a picture of the sittings on the ground 
floor as far back as 1683, when the weavers' and 
fleshers' seats were built. As shown in a pre- 
ceding' chapter, the Burntisland Castle seat (0) 

Magistrates' t^eat Formerly that of Burnti^la:id 


(sometimes termed the Royal pew, though not in 
existence on the Kind's visit) was built in 1606. 
Through the generosity of Mr Thomas A. Wallace 
this quaint and interesting piece of cabinet work 
lias been carefully renovated and redecorated, 
under the direction of Sir R. Rowand Anderson, 
LL.I). The arms under the canopy are those of 
Sir Robert Melville, who as an extraordinary 
Lord of Session in 1601 went by the (law) title 
of Lord Burnt island, and Dame Jean Hamilton, 
daughter of Gavin Hamilton of Raplock, qnd 
widow of Robert, 4th Lord Ross. This lady 
was always spoken of in Burntisland as Lady Ross. 
Sir Robert Melville had been previously married, 
and died without issue. Yet Speed says lie was. 
succeeded in the Provostship of Burntisland by 
his son, Sir William Melville. As seen in another 
chapter Speed was mistaken. When the Castle 
passed from Sir James Melville of Halhill in 1664 
to Sir James Wemyss, the seat must have been 
overlooked, as 1 find the Council addressed in 
167-'{ by " The Right Potent and noble Karl of 
\Veinyss" to "ratify the old agreement regarding 
the seat in his favour." 

Exactly how this seat appeared previous to its 
renovation may be seen in my picture of the 
" Kirking of the Magistrates," in the possession 
nt ex-Bailie Ferguson. The Burgh Arms on the 
c-inopy are an addition. The colours used in 
these arms are those of Fife, suggested by the 
lute M;in|tiis of Bute " because Ilie arms of Fife 


are the arms of the Earl of Wemyss and therefore 
those of Sir James Wemyss of Caskieberry, hus- 
band of Margaret Countess of Wemyss m her 
own right, and who was created a Peer in 1672 
with the title of Lord Burntisland." 

Among 1 the books in this seat is a fine Bas- 
kerville Bible dated 1772, presented by AVilliam 
Ferguson of Raith in 1778, when he was Provost. 

This is the only seat left which gives an idea 
of what the canopied seats along the foot of the 
galleries were like. It has often been stated that 
the woodwork of this seat, the canopies of the 
heritors' seats now lost, and the carved fronts of 
the galleries, were imported from Holland, carved 
and ready to fix up ; and I have some confirma- 
tion of this from Mrs M'Omish, whose progenitor, 
Alexander Chaplin, shipmaster, brought the wood 
of seat D from Rotterdam cut to size. It had a 
canopy of which one stump is left. 

Where the Magistrates sat before 1646 is not 
known, but in that year it is agreed to build 
" ane seat in ye kirk upon ye south eist pillare 
for ye baillies." Yet on (Jet. 12, 1657, it is 
11 ordained that ye baillies sit at a table befoir ye 
pulpit." Afterwards another motion is carried 
that " a seat be built in ye kirk for ye magis- 
trates," etc. This was the seat 2 of the plan, 
and here they sut (with the whole Council on 
occasions) till a comparatively recent date, when 
the seat was given to the proprietor of the Castle 


in exchange for his marked (.), and in 1862 turned 
so that the long 1 side should be against the wall, 
where it now is. 

From time to time applications were made to 
build seats in the centre of the church, but with 
one or two exceptions, until the beginning of 
the 18th century, these were always refused, the 
idea being to retain this space for the women 
relatives of tiie guilds. After Cromwell's disap- 
pearance the families of the gentry ventured back 
from their retreats on the Continent, and this is 
evident from the offers to build seats. But the 
Council (1652) would allow no seats outside the 
" breast of ye loft," and the only seat in the 
body of the church at that time other than 0, 
Pys and Q was " ye old man's seat," sometimes 
termed "the range about ye pulpit." There 
were repeated complaints about it being crammed. 
In 1673 it was ""ordained " that five persons 
named " and no others shall sit there without 
permission," and " the officers " were instructed 
to keep the door locked. This seat dated from 
1633, when King Charles I. visited the town. 
Tremendous preparations were made in anticipa- 
tion of his coming;. " Xew suits of clothes were 
ordered for the two burgh officers, wines, comfits, 
and eatables provided for His Majesty, streets 
cleared of middings and red, and women and 
children ordered to keep within doors from morn- 
ing till night. (Speed's notes). So very remini- 
scent of the Sultan's proclamation when the 


Princess Badroulboudour passed to the bath, that 
all shops should be shut and all persons retire to 
their houses during her progress. Let us hope 
that as Aladdin stole a sight of the Princess 
through the lattice, so the women and children of 
" Bnmtylin" would take a peep at their King, 
little thinking that in a few short trouble-filled 
years that head of curls would be laid on the 

Speed continues: "Two boats were provided 
to ferry the King and his attendants from Xew- 
liaveiL, and all were to receive the freedom of the 
Burgh!" The method adopted by the King to 
avoid swearing fealty to himself is not recorded. 
Unfortunately it was stormy on the 10th July, 
and the rolling deep must have made a mess f 
the programme. Two men were lost on the 
passage, one of whom was John Ferries, the 
King's cook. The bodies were recovered on the 
8rd of August. On that of "Ferries was found 
' 45 iu dollars and other white money, 5 twelve 
pund pieces in gold, ane single angel," etc., in 
all 107 5s 4d ; gold ring, rapier, belt and hinger. 
Item ane cot and breeks of camblet." "With that 
in came the inevitable bills, and " the baillies 
think meet that the sums bestowed on his burial 
be paid to the following persons : 
To Andro Orrock for making his graif, 16 

Item to John White for ringing the bell, 16 



Item to Janet Mair and Klspat Coasin for winding 
him, 13 shillings. 

Item to William Mitchel for washing' his cot and 
breeks, 16 shillings. 

Item to James Brown tayleonr for 5 elms of linen 
to be his winding sheet, five pnnd 8 sbillings. 

Item to J)avid Stirling for making his kist, 3 lib 
iO shillings. 

Item to workmen for carrying him to the Tol- 
bnith., 3^ shillings. 

Item to Alexander Barnie for first spying 1 him in 
ye wold, 31 shillings. 

Item ane dollar to pay for the winding sheet of 
the other man found with him." 

Compare this " ane dollar " winding sheet for 
the nameless man witli that of Ferries at " 5 pnnd 
8 shillings" and "13 shillings" for putting it on. 

The Bailies would be somewhat taken aback on 
Sept. 17 when the "Lord Admiral" came to 
anchor in Bnrntisland roads, and " desired the 
money ami other effects to be given np to him." 
Negotiations went on till Dec. 14th, when the 
Council obtained the property found on Ferries 
"deducting alway 40 libs to be given to the Lord 
Admiral for his glide will." Verily! the want 
of money is the root of all evil. The " Lord 
Admiral " and the Council appear to have courted 
absolution by offering the balance over ')!, 
rapier, ring-, etc. to the Kirk Session "and the- 


Council think it expedient that the Session build 
.ane seat round the pulpit for sick (such) aged men 
us cannot well hear the minister's voice." 

On March 28th, 1659, 'Jon AA'atson," who in- 
stituted " Watson's Mortification," was permitted 
to build a seat on the " west side of the range 
.about the pulpit." On 17th Dec., 1723, another 
was permitted near here which was to come to a 
<loor on the north side of the south-west pillar 
by which the minister entered the pulpit. An 
entry in the Council Records of Gth April, 1702, 
#ives a great deal of information about the space 
under the south gallery. David Bonnar of Binn- 
end was given liberty to build "a seat or pew" 
Y on plan in front of a round seat situated to 
the east of the magistrates' and strangers' 
seats 2 and A2. It was to be " level in front" 
with the magistrates' seat and straight east to the 
AVabster's seat W ; and the .entrance was to be 
by the east end "breasting 1 " the Flesher's seat X. 
The strangers' seat appears to have had the pro- 
perty of entertaining- unawares and in excess. In 
1711 ' Discharges any town's person, man or 
woman, hereafter to sitt in that seat commonly 
railed the strangers' seat unless they agree wt the 
town's treasurer for to pay him twenty shillings 
Scots yearly each of ym for this liberty of the sd 
seat." Another seat "at the back of Minuend's" 
belonging to the town was let for " 4 lib yearly." 

In 1(583 the " AVabsters" were granted the por- 
tion AA r for a seat. They had never been able to 


find enough accommodation in the spaces in the 
gallery unfilled, but belonging to other guilds. 
On 14th May, 1683, " Ye baillies and Counsel all 
in ane voyce approve that ye weivers pay twentie 
marks tor their seat in ye Kirk in ye south eist 
end of ye Kirk" on their representing that they 
were " hardly abell to pay ye warkmeii for build- 
ing of ye seat." About 60 years ago William 
(jairus, the last of the Weavers' Corporation, ami 
his wife occupied the centre seat of this block W. 
On 23rd April, the same year, the "Counsel 
ordaines ye fleshers to give in twentie inerks 
(yearly, I believe) to ye treasurer for ye libertie 
of yer seat on ye south syd of ye weivers seat." 
About 60 years ago "Sandy" Hutchison, the last 
of the Fleshers' Corporation, occupied one of these 
seats block X. Something of a character, he 
brought a candle with him to see the small print, 
and complained openly of the low temperatures in 
winter, preferring then, he said, to read Burns 
at the fireside. Sand}' had a disturbing habit of 
thinking audibly. On one occasion, in the middle 
of the sermon, he made some stir by suddenly 
remarking 'Man, Kobin (the minister), ye're a 
ha i verm' body." 

It is not known when the shoemakers built the 
seats 3, 3, but application was made for their 
enlargement beyond the north wall of the vestry 
in 169;'). Mrs Wiliamson, Bentfield, when a child 
was several times in them. She savs thev were 


notorious for being' rather narrow to get into or 
to sit comfortably in. If shoemakers err it is on 
the side of neatness. 

The seat & was attached to the houses 14 and 
15 Croimvell Road, belonging 1 oO years ag-o to a 
Mr Grindlay. Mary Somerville after her mar- 
riage to her cousin, Lieutenant Greig-, is said to 
have resided in one of these houses, and may then 
have occupied this seat. 

In 1724 " John Durie of Grange" wanted his 
seat made square. This was probably that marked 
V and named Nether Grang'e, though not yet 
square. Sibbaid visiting' Burntisland in 1699 
writes " Xether Grang'e hath a neat house and 
enclosures belonging- to a gentleman of the name 
of Durie." As early as Ioo2 " Georg'e Durie 
gave to his brother Peter the lands of Nether 
Grang'e called le mains." 

The square seat T was made by John Leslie of 
Quartier in- 1655, with permission of the Countess 
of Wemyss, proprietress of the Castle. Quartier 
was the old name of a district between Dodhead 
aud Whinnyhall belonging- to the Castle, and 
appears in lilaeu's map, 1662. 

The two seats II. Y. b?hind were used by the 
tenants of the Castle Flour and Saw Mills. 

On the seat R (the Grange) may be seen the 
stumps of the pillars on which the canopy was 
supported . 


On 23rd Dec., 1T23, " Robert Ged the laird of 
Baldrig" i>ot the Council's grant to extend his 
seat Iv east to the north-east pillar of the gallery. 
The passage between his seat and that of Xew- 
bigging T was not to be interfered with. This 
Ged was a depute bailie of the Court of Regality 
of Dunferniline. He had been fined for attend- 
ing a conventicle in 1674, and yet in his niaturer 
age appears to have been a strong supporter of 
the " Old Chevalier." 

It was in the seat behind Xewbigging that 
Provost Speed, so often quoted in these lines, and 
his sister sat. The back of the seat was removed, 
and placed on the wall behind, on the abolition of 
the hammermen's passage in 1862. It bears the 
inscription : 17.TL.JH.42. 

Seat D is interesting as having the inscription : 
17.A.C.-K.C.27 Alexander and Kuphemia Chap- 
lin. Alexander Chaplin was a shipmaster, and a 
Councillor often referred to as absent with his ship. 

The fact that only members of the guilds and 
their apprentices were allowed to sit in the guild 
seats accounts for the resistance to proposals for 
pews in the centre of the church, which was the 
only place available to the women. The only 
family pews, even under the galleries, were those 
of the heritors and minister until the beginning of 
the 18th century, when several bailies were granted 
the right to make pews for their families. One of 
these was that blocking the passage on the south of 


The year 1725 was a record for these family 
pews, and those obtaining permission petitioned to 
have the right to their " 'air*' and successors for 
ever." The Council thought this somewhat pro- 
tracted, but ultimately took the risk, with the pro- 
viso, that in the event of their "remottest airs fail- 
ling-" the seat shall return to and be at the full 
disposal of the Magistrates and Council with the 
concurrence of the minister and Kirk Session. 

At this period the seats behind B and C were 
added, leaving 1 the passage A. In course of time 
the centre of the church was seated as exhibited in 
the plan, but in such a way as to allow of the com- 
nmnion being' celebrated after the manner of the 
Bereans. L is a table, present only at communion, 
to support the elements, the ministers sitting- in 
front of Gr and J. The dotted line M shows the 
route taken by the communicants. The seven 
square seats N were entered from the sides ordi- 
narily, but on communion their detachable ends 
and partitions were removed, leaving- two long- 
seats with a centre table. This continued till 
about 1860. 


J 45 

Ladle for tokens. 

Here is given a block of a curious ladle used in 
Burntisland Church to collect the tokens after the 
communicants had taken their seats. For offerings 
I believe the "brod" at the door was always used. 
The church possesses a number of these bronze col- 
lection plates, of which three are bas reliefs of the 
Annunciation, Glorification of the Virgin, St 
Christopher carrying the infant Saviour, respec- 
tively. There is an inscription on each, one o 
which the Kev. Mr Kuggan has discovered to be, 
"I bring happiness always." Some years ago I 
sent casts of these to the Scottish Museum, but the 
authorities there could not say what the inscription 
was, thought they dated from William of Orange, 
and did not seem to place much store by them. 
However, in the Glasgow Mxhihition of 1!)11, there 
was a collection plate identical with ours of the 
Annunciation, said to date from the loth century. 


This would tally with the tradition that these 
plates were in use at the Kirkton Kirk, and are of 
Roman Catholic origin. It indicates an improved 
outlook that the Session have withdrawn these 
plates from use at the doors, where they were being' 
battered flat by the weekly pecks of pennies and 

It is said that not so A-ery long- ago the sand- 
glass, used to time the sermon till about the Dis- 
ruption, was sold at a bazaar. It was about 12 
inches high. 

There is no inscription on the church bell, but it 
was recast by Mrs Isobel Meikle, of Edinburgh, in 
1708, and the cost defrayed by public subscription. 

It has often been said that a model ship was sus- 
pended from the hook above the east gallery. Mrs 
Baling all told me her father, for 50 years Session- 
Clerk, often spoke of it. It was not the model now 
in the old Council Chamber. 

About 67 years ago three large chandeliers were 
used for lighting the church one each in the north 
and south galleries, and one in the centre. That in 
the centre was lowered for lighting by means of a 
rope from the tower, and had two large circles o.f 
candles, one above and smaller than the other. 
Mrs McOmish tells she was present one night when 
the worshippers got a great fright. The chandelier 
made a trial attempt at aerial nagivation. flying 
rapidly up and down. The boys who rang the b?ll, 
having skipped the sermon, and suspecting their 


absence would not pass unrewarded, concluded they 
might as well be hanged, for a sheep's lamb, and 
began dancing the candles up and down. These 
chandeliers were introduced in 1634. There have 
been single candles on the pillars and hanging 
from the front of .the galleries. There was the end 
of a steel shaft through the centre of panel 8 south 
loft, from which a lamp might hang. 

The south-east pillar was where offenders were 
placed. Speed writes that women convicted of 
having illegitimate children were condemned to 
stand there on a stool, in a white sheet, for as many 
as 26 Sabbaths ! More hopeless cases were sent to 
the Cross. In 1601 Gill Watson, for calling the 
pastor a devil, was ordained to stand at the Cross 
witli a paper on her head setting forth her offence. 
In dire emergencies the authorities could still 
make "the punishment fit the crime," as in 1665 
two women were imprisoned till they would tell 
who were the fathers of their children. (Speed's 

Plan of the galteries. 


The plan of the galleries shows where the dif- 
ferent guilds were located from 1613 to 1833, with 
the exception of the Hirers, who are said to have 
rented the seats in the West Gallery marked 
Guildry. This portion belonged to the Session 
and Prime Gild from 1621 to 1822, when it was 
resigned to the Session. It was only at a late date 
the Guildry used these seats, due probably to the 
hirers becoming less numerous or using the seats of 
the Maltmen, which body about the end of the 
18th century was almost non-existent, and becaiise 
of a great increase in numbers of the Guildry. 
Reading Hirers, then, for Guildry in the West 
Guildry in the South Gallery we will have an 
almost exact view of the frontayc of the Gild 
seats from the completion of the galleries, which 
Speed gives as 1613. This unseated space be- 
tween the Guildry and Prime Gild belonged to 
the Session and Prime Gild, and was let for 
loose seats, along with spaces behind, to 
several of the crafts not fully seated the Shoe- 
makers, Weavers, and Fleshers, who had no 
frontage. Due to the increase in numbers of the 
other gilds, space had to be found for these three 
gilds in 16X3 on the ground floor. Since 1862 the 
division between the Tailors and Hammermen has 
slightly altered from that in the plan. 

The passage to the "Pryme (jilt" lofts from the 
south-west stair continued until about 00 years ago, 
though the picturesque outside stair was made in 
107!). In 1673 the Council agreed to pay part of 


the expense of making' this stair to the ''masters' 
and seamen's lofts" on condition that a landsman 
be allowed to stand at the collection plate there. 
Could anything- be fairer? The proposal to build 
the stair was opposed 011 a number of grounds 
that "the Kirk was over-well built to be de- 
formed;" that "it was rather a decoxment," what- 
ever that is; "that it would let the east wind and 
rain into the church." As a last dangerous resort, 
"workmen" were called in to see if this impossible 
thing- could be done. They reported that it could, 
and would be a great improvement. 



Gilds there were when Greece was mistress of 
the world. In the middle ages all sorts were in 
great vog-ue religious, social, commercial. The 
commercial at first included both maker and 
vendor. In Scotland the Merchant gilds have 
always been at daggers drawn with the Craft gilds, 
and the object of each, whether merchant or craft, 
was ever to "keep their ain fish guts for their ain 
sea maws." Universal thanksgiving was offered 
up in 1833 for what was thought to be the final 


overthrow of the privileged merchant and trade 
societies in the burghs, yet their modern represen- 
tatives, more widely diffused syndicates and 
trade unions seem a greater menace than ever to 
freedom of trade and freedom of service. 

It is interesting to know that James V., who 
built our first piers and gave our first Royal Char- 
ter, and whose portrait in armour, Speed informs 
us, was the original Burgh Seal, took the part of 
the crafts as against the merchants in 1580, and 
restored their power to fix their own prices by 
deacons chosen by themselves; and, what was more 
fatal to the merchants, to sell their own manufac- 
tures if necessary. In 1555 Queen Mary advanced 
on this by giving the deacons the right to vote in 
the election of the burgh officials.* 

In Burnt island, early in the 17th century, the 
following bodies were permitted to have each a 
fund or "box" to bear the expense of prosecuting 
before the Magistrates those of their own class 
who did not contribute to their funds: The Mer- 
chants, or (ruildry (traders, shopkeepers, or 
shippers), ihe Pryme Gilt (shipmasters and sea- 
men), the Hammermen (smiths, masons, and 
coupers^, the Wrights, Tailors, Weavers, Shoe- 
makers, Bakers, Fleshers, Hirers, and Maltmen. 

This right to kill competition "the life of 
trade"- -M ithin the Burgh was granted on condi- 
.tion that each Society supported its own poor. 

'Thomson's Weavers of DiiiifiTinline. 


Only twice a yenr were outsiders (unfreeinen) 
allowed to sell manufactured goods to the towns-, 
folk, and then only on payment of the fixed dues 
or customs. These periods, extending- to a week 
each, began on the feasts of St Peter, July 10th, 
and 8t John. The first is still observed in the 
guise of the annual fair, but for the last three 
years on the wrong date. Speed says the origin of 
these dues can be traced to fines imposed by the 
clergy for breaking the religious character of the 
feasts by trading. On three days a week, however, 
perishable commodities beef, bread, and country 
produce were allowed into the town on payment 
of dues, and sold only at the price fixed by the 
burgh officials, and only at the market-place, which 
was the Cross. As long as it did not interfere with 
their own trade, there were many eager to obtain 
the bargains of the unfreeman or blackleg, who 
could sell cheaper than the burgesses, not having 
their burdens, and in spite of the dues, if he could 
offer his goods privately at his customer's door. 
This was illegal. A baker fiercely resented bakers 
coming into the town and selling bread from door to 
door, where the prices could not be publicly 
acknowledged ; but if some mutton was brought to 
him in this way, he changed his tune. Monopoly 
was not always maintained, however, even in the 
Courts In 1780 a weaver from the Kirkton, dis- 
covered smuggling in a web of cloth, was heavily 
fined, and the cloth confiscated; but, on appeal to 
a higher Court, the fine and cloth had to be re- 


turned. JJut the weavers were in a position 
legally giving them more chance of success in 
appeals than other outside tradesmen. 

The proper entrance to the town for trading 
purposes in 1635 was by the East Port, which was 
erected then. Speed refers to the north and south 
ports. 1 have not seen these in the records, but 
North gate, South gate, Mid gate often occur 
meaning, apparently, not an entrance but a street 
or thoroughfare. The East Port was demolished 
in 1843, and its extension marked by two inelegant 
pillars, now moved to the entrance to the Links. 
The illustration was constructed by me from 
descriptions of Mr Gibson Thomson, Mr James 
Morrison, Miss Dick, Miss Kelly, Mr Thomas 
Millar all decaeased, and all over 90 years of age 
Mrs M'Omish and Mrs Williamson. Miss Kelly 
owned the houses on the left, and made a drawing 
of them for me. Mr Millar made me a rough 
drawing of the gateway, which corresponded with 
all I knew. The picture \vas shown to Mrs 
McOmish and Mrs Williamson, who both recog- 
nised it. The top of the wall was covered in early 
summer with "Hobertiwylies" wild wallflower- 
just as the Castle wall is yet at that season. 
have myself seen the house on the right, and pait 
of the wall with the dead window, said to have 
been the place where the portion of Halkston's 
body sent to Burntisland was displayed. (lialkston 
of Rathillel was one of the nine Covenanters who 
murdered Archbishop Sharp. He was executed 


July, 1080, his head fixed on the Xetherbow, 
one of his "quarters" sent to Rt Andrews, one to 
Glasgow, one to Leith, and the fourth to Burnt- 
island). The gate, of two leaves, had long- dis- 
appeared. In early days it was opened at 4 a.m. 
and shut at 7 p.m. by th? town's officers, who beat 
a drum up the High Street, or were accompanied 
by the town's "pyper" or "violer." The town's 
violer or pyper had a free house and 10 merks 
annually, and the sole right to teach music or \,r.>- 
vide it at marriages, dances, etc. The violer m 
1670 complained to the Council that "violers bass 
and triple" came into the town and reduced IMS 
income. They were warned off. The foot-passen- 
gers moved down the centre of the street 'Yro\\ii 
of the causeway" which Avas made of fiagst .m , 
about 4 feet wide. The grandfather of Mr-i 
Mdhnish u.sed U> relate that as a boy he played 
''hop, skip, and leap" over the joins in this pave- 
ment. The remainder between the gutters was 
cobbled (a small piece of this cobbling', with llie 
gutter near the middle, remains in the Castle 
Vennel), while in front of the houses was a stretch 
of ground reserved for "middlings," carts, cocks 
and hens. 

The Council books are replete with complaints 
;il n. t unfreemen entering 1 the town endeavouring to 
work at the trades, and enactments u gainst them. 
\o person could enter a craft without being a 
hurgess. As early as 1611 to become a "fiiman" 
or burgess cost "30 pund scotlis" plus a banquet. 


and to gain admission to one of the crafts' cost as 
much as "24 pund scots." A burgess swore to be 
faithful to the King, to defend the liberties of the 
Burgh, and assist the Magistrates in the execution 
of their duty. He had to be of good moral char- 
acter, of the i rue religion," to bear scot and lot, 
watch and ward, and be owner of a rood of bigget 
land. Sons and daughters of burgesses were free 
by birth ; burgess women in exceptional circum- 
stances, such as Cromwell's siege, being called to 
watch and ward. Sons of burgesses on entering a 
craft were (barged only a nominal fee. In 1711 a 
new Act was passed imposing heavier penalties on 
nil freemen, trading within the Burghs. Yet 
members of the trade societies were not free from 
blame. In ]6G8 a Captain A Veiny ss complained 
fhat a smith employed by him sent an unfreeman 
in his place, thus defrauding his fellow-craftsmen. 
Both men were imprisoned during the "Baillies' 
pleasure." A curious apology for smuggling- 
appears in a petition to the Council by the " in- 
habitants" in 1726 " against the Baxters for their 
bred, the Cordiners for their shoes, and the 
Fleshers for the insufhViencie of their fleshes." 
The privileges of the freeman stimulated the arts, 
"but in time the general public suffered severely 
from the want of reasonable competition. Kven as 
early as the beginning of the 17th century James 
VI. in his Jjfixilirtin Dnrnn writes: 'The crafts- 
men think we should be contented with their 
work, how bad soever it be; and if in anything 


they to be (-enroled up g-oes the blue blanket." 

Though the eleven societies in Bnrutisland were 
recognised by the Council none were fully incor- 
porated until 1083. After protracted litigation 
i- Yfe Counsell," on 27th August of that year, 
''' all in ane voice ordaine Sealls of Cause to be 
granted to ye seven traids in ye Burgh . 
wrig-hts, hanibermen, talyeours, baxters, cordiners, 
and wivers." The Guildry, though the most im- 
portant body the Council being almost entirely 
drawn fioiu it was not fully incorporated until 
1710, when it was g-iven the exclusive right of 
trading-. (The Dean of Guild as late as 1833 
levied annual fines on merchants who were not 
members of the Guildry.) lint it was not till 
1732 that the proportion of craftsmen on the Town 
Council was finally settled by arbitration. The 
Council was to consist as before of 21 persons, 14 
belong-ing to the Guildry, including- all the 
Magistrates, and one from each of the seven 
crafts.. The Prime Gilt, Hirers, and Maltmen 
were never incorporated. 

An authority on ancient carved woodwork gives 
the style of carving on the galleries as Kli/.a- 
bethan. The west gallery, 3!) ft. ~i\ in., contains 
1") panels, varying in width, and a section of one. 
Th? east gallery, 3!) ft. 4 in., contains Hi panels, 
very various in width, one at the north end meas- 
uring- only halt the average width; and the south 
gallery. 3S ft. 10 in., has 14 panels fairly uniform 
in width. Th;' difference in width of the panels 


must have arisen partly from the galleries having 
been erected at the expense of the crafts at dif- 
ferent times, and partly from the natural desire 
of each craft to make their panels end with the 
sitting- space allotted them. The pilasters divid- 
ing the panels have been gilded, as well as the 
heraldic ornaments above them, which had been 
on a green ground (of which most -of the yellow 
had faded) as restored around panel 10 south side. 
At the time the pictures were painted over it was 
very generally regretted, and could not be for- 
gotten, as many of them still projected, in certain 
lights, from the surface. Enquiries were made 
"by me many years ago at Messrs Dott & Son if 
the pictures could be uncovered, and they said 
ihey could; but it was only in 1907, when the 
columns and arches were re-chisled and the church 
re-decorated, under the direction of the eminent 
architect, Sir B. Rowand Anderson, K.S.A., and 
through the munificence mainly of Mr Thomas 
A. Wallace, then Town Clerk of Burntisland, that 
Messrs Moxon & Corphrae experimented with the 
sixth panel on the south side and demonstrated 
that the many coats of paint and varnish could 
be removed without endangering the picture un- 
derneath. The picture brought to light proved to 
be a naval battle, the principal vessel being Scot- 
tish, with the St Andrews Cross at the tore and 
the usual streamers waving from the yards. Over 
the miz/en-mast was a compass, and over the fore- 
mast a moon "decrescent.' Portion.': of the 


picture being absent, it was intended to hang- it 
in the vestry, when I ottered to fill in the parts 
awanting, so that it might be returned to its 
place. (The dulness of this panel gives an idea 
of the appearance of a number of the panels when 
found. Some were much less distinct and some 
quite fresh.) Thereafter Mr Wallace very kindly 
commissioned me to remove the paint from panel 
8, east gallery, and restore it. I was successful 
in this, and since then other commissions have 
allowed of 24 panels being examined. Only six 
of these were blank Xos. 11, 12, and 13 east 
gallery, 1 1 and 12 south, and 7 west gallery. 
Some of the pictures were so well preserved that 
they were merely re-touched. Tliese were Xos. 
6 and 9 south side, and (>, 7, 8, and 10 east side. 
The vermilion of the flags and streamers and 
nearly all the gold in No. 7, east side, is the 
actual g-old and colour found. In many of the 
remaining- panels, however, so much of the gild- 
ing- and colour had disappeared that it had to be 
renewed. In doing this the original was not 
<-leaned oif, but is still there, with one exception, 
Xo. 9, east side, which was so split and worm- 
eaten that a fresh surface was imperative. But 
first u very careful transfer was taken and a 
study of th.> colour made. 

In every case the original picture brought to 
light was se?n by those interested in the work. 
The character of a number of them wa> quite 
Miiuspected until the removal of tjiM.psiint, >o that 


the process was highly exciting 1 . There are still 
(December 1913) 22 panels uncovered, some of 
which ought to have pictures, as Mary Somerville 
describes the Baxters and the Weavers, neither of 
which was on the north gallery, now destroyed. 

These pictures have no pretensions to being- 
works of art. They are typical examples of the 
work done by a class of artist now extinct, but 
who were numerous in the days when it was 
fashionable for every shopkeeper or tradesman to 
hang a pictorial symbol of his calling over his 

Provost Speed in his notes writes that on the 
sides of the pillars were suitable texts for various, 
occupations, with the Lord's Prayer, the Ten 
Commandments, and the Apostles' Creed. When 
Mr Wallace offered to have the pillars restored it 
was hoped that on the removal of the layers of 
whiting and wallpapers,, simulating marble or 
g-ranite, in which they were buried, the texts, 
etc., would be ag'ain broug'ht to light, but noth- 
ing was found. It is probable that these texts 
were painted on tablets and hung' on the pillars. 







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On previous page is a facsimile of the first entry 
in the "Gild Council book of the Burgh of Burnt- 
island," of which the following is a version: 
"In the name of God, upon ye twentie fyft day of 
December the year of God sixteen hundred and 
sevinteine years. Conveined David Seattoune 
Pickard Ross, Jon Geddie, Jon Boway, 
Alexander Forrester, John Sybbald, Jon Quhyt, 
and Jon Seattoune. For granting ane voluiitare 
contribution weekly amongst ymselves during yis 
year to come. To such goods necessr ... as 
shall be thought most expedient at yr nixt meit- 
ting They ilk ane for yr own pairts 
Grantit and willinglie assent to give ilk weik 
during yis year as followis to witt David Seattoune 
two shillings money Scotts Pickard Ross ij" (2s), 
Jon Boway ij- s Jon Geddie twelve pennies Jon 
Sibbald xijd Alexander Forrester viij^ and Jon 
Quhyt viij rf And thought fitt and ordanit ye sd 
Jon Quhyt suld begin upone Sunday nixt ye 28 
of December instant to collect at ye morneing 
prayers and ctiiiew ilk Sunday yrafter and maik 
couipt (who) pay is and quha is restand." 


Succeeding- entries show that the Society existed 
in 1611, and the Commissioners in their report in 
1833 say the merchants had a box in 1600. There 
were 10 members in 1611, and only three new mem- 
bers were added up to 1631. Up to 1668 there had 
been 23 members. When the book ends, in 1828, 
there had been 308 members. In 1832 there were 
82 members, and the Society was dissolved in 
1860. The cause of its increased numbers in the 
later part of its existence was due to membership 
being- sought after more a,s an honour than from 
any expected trade benefit, and also to the reduc- 
tion in the entry fees. In 1731 the Hon. Thomas 
Leslie (Provost) joined; in 1768 Captain William 
George Fairfax, commander of H.M. cutter 
"Greyhound"; in 1770 the Right Hon. David 
Rutherford; and thereafter all sorts and conditions 
sailors, fishermen, fishcurers, boatmen, bakers, 
candlemakers, farmers, a watchmaker, etc. 

The Society began with traders in materials in 
clothes, or what was called "merchant goods," and 
who claimed the right to " pack and j>eel " (export 
and import) within the Burgh. This claim was 
only fully enjoyed when a " petition for a Gildrie" 
was granted by the Town Council, 23rd January, 
1710. The Council then appointed till Michael- 
mas " Hubert Seton, Lord Dean of Gild," and 
six others as Gild Council. The following- year 
the Dean and another were chosen by the Council ; 
ami, by and by, on the annual election of the Dean 
of Gild, he is directed to convene the retiring 


Gild Council "and make choice of a new Gild 
Council." The Gildrie at this time consisted 
eolely of persons interested in the trade skippers, 
shipowners, and merchants of all kinds the cap- 
italists of those days. They completely controlled 
the business of the town, and formed the bulk of 
the Town Council. It was not until 1732 that 
the seven incorporated crafts were each entitled by 
law to a representative on the Town Council. 

From 1711 the Gild Council controlled weights 
and measures, the safety of building's and their 
extension, public wells, streets, "'utters, paving', 
and sanitation. The repeated visits of the pest or 
plag-ue in the past century had given the authori- 
ties notions of cleanliness not to be despised. As 
early as 1602, to fig-lit the plague rampant in 
Leith and King-horn fourteen bailies were created 
and twenty-eig-ht assessors, to prevent intercourse 
of the inhabitants, or ingress of strang-ers. All 
cats, dogs, and "swyne" were destroyed, and all 
refuse burned. " Ludges " were erected at the 
south side of the Links to which the infected were 
removed, and the result was that Burntisland had 
comparatively few cases. 

On 2nd February, 1710, John Seton, Town 
Clerk, was paid ten pounds Scots for an extract 
of the Gildrie Act, and the Town Officer Gs Scots 
for promulgating it at " Ye Croce." 

After the freedom of the box the two great 
privileg-es were the "loft in ye Kirk and ye morte- 


cloat h." The box, with their money and docu- 
ments, was in 1668 of iron, with two locks and 
two keys. At each meeting it was decided where 
the box was to rest until next meeting-, and who 
were to have the keys "1670 . . ye box lo 
be in John Koss his house. Item David Seton 
to have on kay and AVilliam Callander ye other." 
After 1666 there were usually six or eig-ht old or 
sick men or widows receiving various sums accord- 
ing to the scale of contribution a more manly 
principle than " something- for nothing-." 

As the Society prospered more seats were built 
in the Church, houses and ground were bought, 
and considerable sums of money lent on bond, 
usually to the town. The Society possessed at 
least two houses in 1752, one of which was for 
their Gild Officer. In 1746, this official having 
lost his life by an old wall falling on him, the 
Gildrie were in a quandary what to do with his 
widow and family. They decided, in addition to 
an allowance, to let her occupy the house on the 
condition that "she provide a proper man to oftici 
ate for them." The widow, the bairns, and UK 
Gildrie would all benefit by a "proper man 

In 17")2 the Gildrie bought a grass park on the 
east side of the Kirkyard for 24 His. It was let 
from then to 1761 to Samuel Charteris, solicitor of 
Customs for Scotland, grandfather of Mrs Somer- 
ville, and afterwards to her father Captain "\V. G. 
Fail-fax. Frequent mention is made of this park 


in the Council Hecords and Hammermen's book, 
under the name of the " louping diks." Tliere 
was no road past tlie north wall of the Clmrch, 
the "-round at the g-ate end being- six or eight 
feet higher than at present. The "dyke" itself, 
or its "yeat" was always being' repaired or rebuilt, 
due to illicit traffic.. In 1782 James Morrison 
made a new "yeatt" for which he charged 1 Is 3d, 
including- a "coat of pent and oil." 

The comforting 1 assurance of being- interred with 
one of the "mortecloaths" was in time improved, 
on by hiring- them out, and this was a source of 
considerable income In 17GG there were four 
mortcloths a larg-e one for men, having- twelve 
yards of velvet with a fringe, and a smaller one 
for women. Either was let out for 5s. Another 
called "the maiden's," of black velvet and white 
satin lining, was 3s 4d, while a very small one 
for children was Is 8d. The custodians of the 
mortcloaths were a long; succession of Geddies, 
beginning- with Marion Geddie. 

At first the Gildrie had only one seat. In 1GG8 
"It is ag-reit with David Stirling- wrig-ht to ye 
Burg'h that he shall repair ye Merchant's seat. 
in ye Kirk with lock and kay of ye door . . and 
for which work he is to have ye soume of sixtein 
punds Scots. He said he was a loser by it, and 
was allowed 1 20 punds.' This seat included the 
panel with scales to the corner. Shortly after this 
a second seat was built behind, and in 1705 a third 


seat "boulding a bak sot in the Kirk which coins 
to tlm .-;i mm of 20 pond 19 shillong." (The broad 
"Kircawday" speecli is no doubt a survival of 
the pronunciation of Knox's time. James Mel- 
ville writes "there was twa in Faint Androis wha 
uer his (Knox's) aydant heirars Mr Andro Yoang 
wha wrot his sermonts . . . and . . . causit 
to wrait for what end God knawes.") In 1737 
these three seats were lengthened eastwards about 
six feet, which includes two panels with dates 
there. Liberty to make this addition was obtained 
from the Kirk Session and "prymgild" on paying' 
each member of these 10s 6d, and probably 
depended on some conditional arrangement be- 
tween these bodies, entered into in 16^1, 
when the amount of their several rights was fixed. 
The front seat, lined witli green cloth and a fringe 
over the front, was reserved for the " Lord Dean 
of Gild" and his Council, whose officer unlocked 
the door for them. One of the officer's perquisites 
was two pair of shoes per annum. There were 
four Gildrie seats in 1705. The late Mrs Halin- 
gall told me that she had sren a number of the 
Gildrie silting in the West Gallery. In 1784 the 
stair (4 in plan) Mas renewed at the expense of 
the Gildrie, Baxters, and Mailmen. 


The Guildry Panels. 


Of the lour panels belonging to the Guildry - 
Nos. 7, 8, !), 10, South side No. 7 denotes the 
year in which their charter of incorporation came 
into practice. No. 8 indicates the date of an 
undertaking with the Kirk Session and Prime 
Guild regarding the frontage; the difference in the 
style of lettering and ornament is ample proof of 
their having been executed at these dates. Both 
these panels were restored for the late Mr John 
Gilchrist Cunningham, 2 Gladstone Terrace. 
No. 9, restored for Provost D. J. Ba.lf.our Kirke, 
is part of the Gildrie arms; and No. 10, restored 
for the family of the late Mr William Crow, 
represents their "mysterious iiguv? four," about 
which there has been a good deal of speculation. 
It was used by the merchants in Stirling and else- 
where, and may be seen on a tombstone at Crail, 
and on one in Burntisland Kirkyard. In the 
latter case it appears correctly, as in the Stirling 
seal, that is a Itoman figure four reversed. The 
figure is supposed to have lu>en used in early times 
by the original "four burghs" exclusively. These 
were Kdinburjjh, Stirling, Berwick, and Rox- 
burgh, the "court" of which disappeared by Act 
of Parliament in 14f>!). The date 17>'W commem- 
orates the year in which the Guildry would first 
enjoy the Act passed in ]1>\2 by which fourteen 
of their members were to have seats on the Town 
Council and to monopolise the Magistracy. 



The Prime (jild Society still exists, and is 
known to have been in operation in 1605, but it 
must have existed at a much earlier date, con- 
sidering the trade with foreign ports known to 
have been proceeding with g-reat vigour for 70 
years before. In a copy of rules printed in 1845, 
membership was confined to shipmasters, sailors, 
shipowners, and carpenters of sober habits, and 
under 4'J years. There was a pension at the age 
of sixty, according to the entry-money and annual 
payments. A widow received three-fourths of the 
pension "as long' as she remained a widow," and 
there was nothing 1 against her moral character. 
There was a boxmaster and two keepers. I have 
endeavoured to obtain some idea of their early 
proceeding's, but the Society is averse to giving 1 
information. Fourteen of the pictures are on 
panels in front of their lofts, and their papers 
might have shown when they were painted. I 
think it probable that no papers exist later than 
1845. About that time a fire broke out in the 
house of the boxmaster, Mr James Morrison, when 
most, if not all, the property of the Prime Gild 
was destroyed, including a mortclolh of black 
velvet with a gold border, which had cost 00. 

The Society appears from 1005 very frequently 
in the Council Books as bond-holders; on one occa- 
sion having- a bond on the Lammerlaws of 2,500 
merks. The name Pryme (jilt is not peculiar to 
the Burntisland Society, the name being 1 used by 


sailors' societies elsewhere. The designation is 
derived from prymgilt the first charge, or 
anchorage, on a ship using- a port. Early in the 
seventeenth century " Saylaris in merchandyce 
must be men of burrowis," and had to show their 
burgess ticket on entering foreign, ports. Sir 
James Marwick says the Convention of Burghs at 
Cupar in 1578 went further, and enacted that 
every sailor in merchandise must hr> a guild 
brother of the town from which he traded. 
Foreign merchants could trade only with Free 
Burghs, and that only wholesale. Colston in his 
'' Ghiildry" book shows that at Leith "nae ships" 
could be " fraughted outward nor inwards " but 
with tjie knowledge of the Dean of Guild and his 

The frontage of the sailor's loft on the east side 
bi-gaii at panel 5 and ended at the south-east 
Corner. There are eleven panels, of which eight 
have pictures. Panel o, restored for Mrs Harrow, 
1 Craigholm Crescent, in memory of her father, 
the late Bailie M'Intosh, is a graphic representa- 
tion of a merchant brig of the seventeenth century, 
similar to panel 10, but more distinct than it in 
the details of the hull. The large iron grate on 
the poop, in which a fire was lit as a beacon, is 
well defined. The remarks about the early form 
of Union Jack in panel 10 apply equally to this, 
which, however, appear to have been executed 
earlier, if we consider that here both masts show 
the St Andrews Cross. It was illegal to use this 


flag- on ships (except at the fore), after 1606; it 
would be more difficult to do so after 1707 when 
more stringent laws were passed regarding the use 
of flag-s. 

Panel 6 restored for Miss K. J. Kirke, 
Hilton, is believed to show in the date of 1602, 
the erection of this portion of the galleries in that 
year. As has been seen, though some sittings 
were arranged for in 1590, a special effort was 
made to complete the seating 1 in 1602, when this, 
panel beg-an the sailor's loft. (Xo. o was only 
acquired later, and till then was a temporary panel, 
having 1 the pilasters but no spandril.) The date 
1773 commemorate the year when the decision 
regarding- the proportion of members of the 
(iuildry on the Town Council became operative. 
The dates were not painted at the same time. 
1602 is painted on the bare oak, and the lettering- 
that in use early in the seventeenth century, 
similar to panel on South Gallery, while 1733 is 
painted on a thick ground of spirit varnish with 
the style of lettering- in vogue then. In using- 
this date 1733, the same as that on panel 9 South 
Gallery, it must be remembered that many of the 
Prime (jilt were also members of the Gildrie, and 
the (xildrie were the employers of the shipmasters, 
and sailors. 

Panel 7 restored for Mr Thos. A. Wallace is 
an example of the larg-er tyi>e of war vessel called 
the carrack, in use from James IV. to the middle 


of the seventeenth century. It is intended as a 
King's ship, as the Royal arms not the Scottish 
arms are emblazoned on the stern. I think it 
a strong 1 proof of this picture having been painted 
very early in the seventeenth century that the 
flags are all St Andrew's Cross. It may be 
objected that the grounds of the flags are red 
instead of blue, but the guns are gold, not black. 
The artist used red and gold for decorative, pur- 
poses only. The union of crowns in 1603 produced 
the first form of Union Jack, but there are none 
here. Mason says the war vessels of those days 
went into battle "with the banner at the main, 
the standard on the poop, the national nag on the 
fore, and witli pennons and streamers of vivid 
colour waving from the yard arms." The wind, 
seemingly absent below, blows a gale at the mast 
head. One would think the captain was getting 
married. The guns in the stern are interesting. 
At the prow ramps the Scottish lion, and behind 
this is a mask, thought to represent St Michael, 
the patron of war. Provost Kirke in a recent 
lecture thought this vessel might be a picture of 
the Great Michael built by James IV. The guns 
do not correspond, but 'the Great Michael was no 
doubt the protype of this. 

Panel 8 also restored for Mr Thos. A. Wallace 
is a compass designed to show approximately 
the local difference between the geographic and 
magnetic north. 


Panel 9 restored for Mrs Laurie, Starleyhall, 
in memory of the late Mr James Taylor of Star- 
leyhall is a picture of a master mariner of the 
17th century. The four-tailed coat, rosettes on 
shoes, and moustache, might fit into 1670-80. 
The curious combined cravat and bow at the neck 
may be seen in Blorne's Encyclopaedia, published 
about 1680. The nautical instruments are the 
cross-staff and astrolabe described in panel 3 south 

Panel 10 restored to the memory of the late 
Mr John Wishart, for 50 years at Grange, for his 
children represents a brig of about the middle 
of the 17th century. It has- the usual spritsail, 
and the artist has forgotten the helm, but it is 
extremely interesting from the fact that the flags, 
with the exception of the St Andrew's Cross at 
the fore peak, illustrate the first form of Union 
Jack, and make it certain that the picture was 
painted after 1606 and before 1707. Three years 
after the union of the crowns in 1603, the union 
nag of the St. Andrew's Cross and the Cross of 
St George was ordered to be borne by merchant- 
men in the main top, with the St Andrew's Cross 
at the fore, and on the Union of Parliaments in 
1707, the proclamation was repeated, and the 
Union Jack constituted the national flag of Great 
Britain. Though illegal to use the St Andrew's 
Cross (except on the fore) on ships after 1606, 
the date of proclamation, we may infer from its 


repetition one hundred years afterwards, that the 
law was not always obeyed. It was not till 1801 
that the representatives of Ireland sat at West- 
minster, and St Patrick's Cross added to the 
union flag. 

The flag at the main in this picture has been 
described to me as "a swallo.w-tailed bird's eye 
(burgee)." From the translation of Jas. Eodger, 
M.A., headmaster here, and the suggestion of Mr 
Allan Eodger, F.E.I.S., Barrhead, the inscription 
appears to be an adaptation from the ^Eneid when 
^Eneas addresses his shipwrecked followers : 

" O &ocii neque enim ignavi sumus ante malorum, 
O pass! graviora, dabit deus his quoque finem." 

" Oh, ye! who have suffered worse evils, God will 
end even these.'' The idea supposed to be aimed 
at by "dabit-deus-his-quo-que-vela" may be " God 
guides every sail." 

Panel 14 restored for the daughters, step-sons, 
and step-daughters of the late Mr Alexander Kidd, 
for many years banker in Burntisland and an elder 
in the Parish Church is of a species unknown. 
From the peculiar form of mainsail it might be 
a dispatch vessel. From the two St Andrew's 
Crosses displayed, and the early form of union 
ensign on the poop, we may conclude that it was 
painted between 1650 and 1707. 



I'anels 14 and 15 East Sailors' Gallery. 

Panel 15 restored for M. AY. Bennet, Craij?- 
liohn Crescent, in memory of lier father and 
mother in the inscription, is the same as that 
over the door of the sailors' loft, 107!), but the. 
style ol letter would point to the panel beinj? 
earlier. This motto was a favourite in the seven- 
teenth century, and appears on a house in Inver- 
keithing, and Taylor says "on the front of the 
plague-protected house at Chester." 


South Sailors' Loft. 


Panel 1, south sailor's loft restored for Miss 
K. J. Kirke, Hilton, in memory of the late Kev. 
Joseph Sage Finlayson, M.A., for 30 years Parish 
Church minister is very quaint and picturesque, 
and in respect of its theme, beautiful. Before 
being painted over in 1822 it must have been in 
a very neglected state, as only a few particles of 
gold remained on the parts that had been gilded. 
It may never have been re-gilded from the first, 
which may, from the lettering 1 , have been in the 
latter half of the seventeenth century. In the 
following century churchyard sculpture passed 
through a Calvinistic gloom of crossed bones, 
skulls, and skeletons, but here we have affirmed 
11 sure and beautiful hope. The word " suft- 
hinent" is. of course, "sufficient." 

Panel 2 was restored for Mr J. W. Muir, 
Seyton Avenue, Glasgow, in memory of his father 
and mother. This odd and almost elfish-looking 
personage seems to breathe of the forecastle, and 
may date earlier than the last mentioned, in spite 
of the buckled shoes. The curious ornament on 
the front of the waist, round which there is no 
belt, is not a buckle, but the survival of a frill in 
which the bodice ended, in a fa.shion thirty year> 
before buckles became all the <jo. One of its 
phases \\as a hunch of ribbons or lace. The figure 
is, as sailors say, "fathoming" a rope. Some have 
thought that this action is intended to draw a 
parallel between the allotted span of three score 
and ten, and the seventy-two indies in a fathom 


the amount of rope we may be allowed. The 
arched rope is ingeniously descriptive of the curve 
followed by the hand in "fathoming.'' The rope- 
has been cut, we may suppose, from what appears 
to be a mooring post. A Dutch naval gentleman 
has expressed the opinion that the rope ought to be 
attached to what he says is a lead, and not a moor- 
ing' paul; his reason being 1 that the chief idea, 
strongly inculcated in the sailor, was that "the 
lead is the sailor's paladium." However, a photo- 
graph taken when the picture was first uncovered 
shows no rope there, and the knife is very distinct. 
Panel 3 was restored in memory of Mr John 
Murrie, at one time Provost of Burntisland, and 
Margaret Murrie, for their daughters Elizabeth 
Burgoyne, Jessie 8. Wilson, Margaret S. Murrie, 
and Isabella Murrie. The only indication that a 
picture was on this panel before the removal of 
many coats of white, g-rainings, and varnish was 
a circle low down on the left which was expected 
to prove the end of a scroll. A high pitch of 
excitement was attained when this gradually re- 
solved itself into an instrument like an enormous 
watch held in a man's hand. The interest was if 
possible intensified when it was found that the 
man held in his other hand some apparatus equally 
strange and unheard of. Arguing from the cos- 
tume the picture could not be much earlier than 
1680. But as the instruments, an astrolabe and 
cross-staff, must have been rarely in use at that 
time merely mentioned in " Robertson's Xavi<>a- 


tion," though well described in Blome's Encyclo- 
pedia and the Davis quadrant having 1 been 
known from the beginning of the 17th century, I 
conclude that the person who had the panel 
painted would be some old sea dog 1 , in his "retreat 
from care and toil," fondly musing on the good 
old days of his youth. Our Commander with 
cross-staff and astrolabe more fortunate than Don 
Quixote, who in his perilous voyage in the en- 
chanted barque prayed for an "astrolabe to take 
the elevation of the pole" appears just to have 
purchased them and, on the way aboard, is seized 
with an irresistible desire to test them. I re- 
member seeing an aged golf enthusiast, going to 
chinch one Sunday, suddenly stop in the middle 
of the road, and put himself and his umbrella in 
a driving attitude. 

The cross-staff, or fore-staff, was used for taking 
altitudes, and consisted of a square rod about three 
feet long, the sides of which were graduated 
respectively for ten, thirty, sixty, ami ninety 
degrees. Only one of the cross pieces was used at 
a time. The staff was held to the right eye by the 
right hand, while the left slid the cross until one 
end encountered the hori/on and the other sun. 
The figure, therefore, is very conventional, but it 
is evident that if the figure is to appear moving 
from left to right, or to follow the sun, the artisl 
could not have put the stuff to the right eye 
without painting the back of the figure lowards 
us. In all the panels in which the designs are 


profile, the motion is directed with the sun, except 
panel 5 of this loft. 

The astrolabe was also for altitude, and was 
used by the Greeks. It was divided in 360 
degrees, though only one part of these were re- 
quired. It was suspended by the left thumb with 
the edge turned towards the sun, and the vertical 
line strictly plumb. The pointer had a sight at 
each end, and was turned until the shadow of 
the upper was thrown on the lower, the point of 
which then marked the degree of altitude. 

Panel 4 was restored for Miss Landale, Edin- 
burgh, in memory of her father and mother, Dr 
and Mrs Landale of the Binn. The compass on 
this panel is somewhat similar to that on panel 8 
east gallery, and there is the same attempt to show 
the difference necessary to allow for in steering 
for Burntisland. 

Panel 5 was restored for Mrs John Kirke, Lon- 
don, in memory of her father, the late Mr Tames 
Shepherd of Rossend Castle. It represents a ship- 
master taking the altitude of the sun with a Davis 
quadrant. AVith the exception of the shoe 
buckles, the costume is previous to 1680. The 
ribbons at the knee are much earlier. I suggest 
that shoe buckles may have been used at sea 
before the fashion came in on land. Observe the 
brim of the hat turned up to allow of using the 
quadrant. There is a hat in the navy at present 
very like this in the front, and perhaps originating 


from it. As already pointed out the ships and 
men in profile on these panels are all g-oing- with 
the sun, except this one, and it is interesting; to 
find that this figure has the back turned to the 
sun intentionally. In using- the Davis quadrant 
employed from 1594 to 1740, when it was sup- 
planted by Hadley's it was necessary to turn the 
back to the sun. One hand slid the Vane on the 
arc of the upper sector until a beam of sunlig-ht 
from behind, passing' throng- h a hole in the Vane, 
struck a slit in another Vane at the point. This 
Vane is uprig-ht in the picture, But should be hori- 
zontal. There was a slit in it so that the horizon 
mig-ht be kept in view throug-h it, and the perfor- 
vated Vane at the observer's eye. When the 
horizon was visible through, and the beam of sun- 
light struck the Vane at the point simultaneously, 
the altitude of the sun was found in the sum of 
the under portions of the two arcs, which were 
graduated respectively 00 and 25 degrees. I am 
indebted to Mr J. Bolam, Leith Nautical Colleg-e, 
for an understanding- of this instrument. 

Panel 6 has already been described at pag-e 173, 
and panels 7, 8, 9, 10, at pag*e HiS. 

ned insignia of the Smiths, Wrights, and Masons, 
painted on the c!e:truc"io:i of the Aorth Gallerv. 


The earliest entry in the " Hammerman's book" 
1648 is near the middle. The intention may 
Lave been to collect their earlier proceeding's from 
scattered papers and place them in the front pages. 
From this entry it may he gathered that the 
Society had heen in existence long; before. It is 
difficult to decipher, biit appears to be a fine of 
40s to be imposed on members working- under 
certain circumstances; the fine to g-o to the "box." 
" . . . ordained be ye ha ill members of ye 
hammermen yt nane of," . . . and concludes 
"In presents of (iod to stand be subscrvit with 
our hands upon ye twentie fyve of December 
1G48." The signatures, initials or marks of 44 
persons follow. Only two are unable to write, 
six use initials, the remainder written in full are 
equal to the average writing of the present day, 
and several are particularly fine. 

The Society laid the usual stress on the defence 
of its members from the. outlander, who persisted 
in coming- in and offering- his inferior ( '?) services 
at a lower rate. Hut it also provided for the 
members' widows, sickness, and poverty. Xew 
members \\eie always "admited fremen to all ye 
libertie and privileges of our seat and box" (1GM.) 
The cost of admission varied from five pounds to 
twenty-founr pounds Scots (in 18'W it was i'10 
sterling;) "according 1 to paction." The rearing- of 
apprentices was a chief item. These were nearly 
always sons of members. On one occasion this 
rule was tested bv a baker's son, but lie was 


rejected. At another time a stranger wright was 
admitted "frieman" at the fees expected from a 
son, on account of having- married a "frieman's" 
daughter. Each apprentice paid on joining- 14s 
(increased latterly to 40s), and after serving 1 five 
years, paid what was termed " the gurnie 
(journey) money" a grand excuse for a blow out. 

There is some confusion in the designation 
' Hammermen." The arms behind their seats 
are those of the hammermen, or smiths hammer 
and crown ; the wrights, square and compass ; and 
the masons, castle and compass. In the whole 
book, 1648 1739, there are only three "measons" 
or "mesons" mentioned, one cooper, and one 
"plnmer and glasir." The remainder are smiths 
and wrights. The money was termed the "ham- 
mermen's box" up to 1683 when the Society was 
incorporated. On October 18th, 1684, "ye deacons 
hev given this day to ye Town Clerk seventeen 
pounds Scots ye hammermen and wrights sealle 
of cause qlk wes this day put in the box." In 
the CWncil Records, 1683, a "sealle of cause" is 
granted to the wrights and one to the hammer- 
men. Originally choosing- one deacon they now 
cliose one from the smiths and one from the 
wrights, and their box was now called the smith 
and wrights' box. So that while incorporated 
separately the societies elected to use the same 
rules, box, and church seat. 


The joint Society met once a quarter at the house 
of the boxmaster to make the subscription, and 
in September books were balanced " to presiding 
deat." There were then chosen two deacons, a 
boxmaster, men to hold the keys of the box, a 
keeper for the "cists for the mortcloaths," and a 
person to whom was given the custody of the book. 
There w r ere a "silver box" and a "paper box," 
with three keys for the one and two for the other. 
In 1681 there were four mortcloths, "two of velvet 
and two of cloth seall." Some of these mortcloths 
were not to be sniffed at. In 1711 " bought 9 
els of velvet with five pounds and ane unce of 
black silk for a fring. Seven els and aiie half 
fine black silk serg for the linin, and seven unces 
and four drops of more black silk to compleat the 
soeiug : total an hundred and fifty ane pounds 
eightin shillin Scots mouney." These mortcloths 
let out to the general public were a good source 
of revenue. 

Like the other Societies, the Hammermen lei 
such sittings as they did not require to outsiders. 
In 1731 " . . .let their loft (a seat in) belong- 
ing to their treds to John Dickson, barber, for 
thrie shillings strling money." The last member 
of the joint Society was David Arnot, a black- 
smith, who disposed of the seats to the Kirk 
Session about the year I860 for 50. He had 
received one instalment of n when he died. In 
any case, he could not have conveyed the seats to 


anyone. His daughter, Mrs Henderson, possesses 
a flag' of the Hammermen dated 1832. 

The joint Societies were prosperous in the first 
half of the 18th century. In 1704 they purchased 
a house and "yaird" from John Kirkland, shoe- 
maker, for 47. In 1728 they possessed ''apis of 
ground est sid of ye Kirk called ye louping diks," 
which they let out. In 1737 " David Reiiton paid 
ye crofts rent." They had good sums lent on 
bond, and at the same time borrowed money, let 
us hope at a lower rate than they lent it. On one 
occasion they lent a " Talyeor" 9 to get him 
out of the Tolbooth. 

That masons were eligible, and yet only three 
were members in about one hundred years, shows 
how few were permanently resident. The masons 
hailed from large centres, and were members of 
the masons' Societies there. They moved in a 
gipsy fashion from place to place as work was 
projected, usually building huts to live in, round 
the work in progress, and taking the road again 
on its completion. 

Little is known of the cordiners. The plan, page 
132, shows their seat (3) described on page 141. 
Their arms similar to that of the craft in Edin- 
burgh are on the wall at the end of their seat. 

The cordiners', or shoemakers', seal of cause, of 
which a part is here shown in, was 
granted by the Town Council in 1G83. The 



The Cordiiiera' Arms. 

following is a rough reading of it : "Senile of 
Cause in favour of ye cordiners. To all and 
sundrie whom it ... Michael Setoiin. baillie 
of ye Burgh of Brunt iland, Alexander Orrock, 

Walter Adams, William Moyes, James Gardiner, 
William Mitchelson, John Crawford, Andrew 
Robinson, John Orrok, William Blankiter, James 
Anderson, John Young, George Walkethusent, 
counselers of this Burgh Greeting 1 in God ever- 
lasting. We make it knowne that there did 
compeir hefoir us, we being- then sitting- in judg- 
ment, John Young cordiner Burges of this Burgh, 


ami accompanied w* ye best and worthiest of ye 
heall cordiner traid, wha presented ane bill and 
supplication together w* certaine propositions and 
articles," and goes on to lay down that in future 
all shoemakers and tanners in the burgh must be 
burgesses, pay into the box for their own poor, 
must have no work done by any "outlandman or 
unfreeman," and bring up its apprentices under 
explicit rules regarding their "meat and drink," 
years of service, etc. 

The Talyeors. 

Mrs M'Omish remembers a picture of a pair of 
"shears" on a panel of the tailor's loft. At Crail 
the tailors had a good many lines of ryhme on the 
front of their loft. One of the lines ran: 
"Were it not for tailors we might all naked go." 

It was due to the neglect of the Burntisland 
tailors to keep their gallery in a state of repair 
that the carved oak front there was removed, and 
a. white wood oak grained front substituted. They 
let out their seats, and every Michaelmas, when 
ihey drew their rents, they had a great spree. St 
Michael was their patron Saint, some say, but I)r 
James (iammack holds it was was St Goodman. 1 
fear they would require at these times, the assist- 
ance of St Martin. These periodical" bouts kept 
them short of cash, and the seats fell into a serious 
state of disrepair. The Session called on them to 
put things right, and advanced them money for 
the purpose, the interest on which they were un- 


able to meet ; on wliicli the seats came into the 
hands of the Session some time after 1822. About 
one hundred years before 1727 a ""William 
Brand, Talyeor," caused a sensation in the burgh. 
While drinking 1 in the company of three men of 
other crafts, he sold to them "ye Talyeors seat in 
ye Kirk for ane hundred rix dollars." The Tailors' 
Society petitioned the Town Council, who over- 
turned the bargain, and fined "ilk ane" of the 
prisoners "twentie punds Scots." 

The late Mr William Melville was the last box- 
master, but the box cannot now be traced. 

The Weavers' Box. 


The Wivcrs. 

This is the only oiie of the societies whose box 
still exists. It contains many old documents ol 
the craft, and is in the possession of Councillor 
Stevenson, whose father received it from the last 
of the weavers. Jt is by the courtesy of Councillor 
Stevenson that 1 am able to present the above 
picture of this interesting relic of by-gone days. 
Mary Somerville describes the weavers' seat, 
noticed at page 141, as having over it a picture of 
a shuttle with the inscription ' Life is swifter 
than a weaver's shuttle and is spent without hop 

The Jid.vtcrs and 

Little is known of these bodies. Mary Somer- 
ville writes of the Baxters' seat as having a 
" sheaf of wheat painted on the front." This 
panel, it is hoped, may yet be discovered. There 
is a notice of the Fleshers' seat at page 141. 

The M<i I tin en. 

Of the three Guilds never incorporated the 
I'rymgilt, Hirers, and Maltmen the first has 
already been noticed. In the report of the Com- 
missioners to the Municipal Corporations of Scot- 
land in 18M it is stated that the Maltmen in 1C08 
were allowed by the Council to have a box and a 
"mutual band" and to levy a certain sum for each 
boll of malt that was made for the support of their 


The Hirer*. 

The Hirers, like the Maltmen, were a numerous 
body. A postmaster was first chosen in 1609 in 
connection witli the imposition of a 5 per cent. 
tax on their drawing's, called postsilver. Twelve 
years afterwards the Postmaster General for Scot- 
land complained to the Privy Council that Burnt- 
island and Kinghorn. were "posting on their own 
account, and infringing his patent." In 1674 the 
pest of Sabbath breaking- appears to have been 
specially virulent. It was kept up by people 
from Edinburgh crossing-, and taking a day in the 
country on horseback. The wicked Xewhaveii 
boatmen started it by landing- passeng-ers on the 
" Saboth .... Ordaines no boats cross with- 
out advertising- the minister or magistrates," nor 
any "Hyrer" to hire out his horse under penalties. 
The postmaster and others were admonished. But 
nothing- would stop it. So a virtue was made of 
necessity, and liberty practically granted on pay- 
ment of a sufficient fine. On one occasion the 
minister reports "fortie shillings Scotts received 
from D. Humes, skipper, for breach of the 




'Die worthy burgesses of Burntisland were 
from the first in a chronic state of discontent about 
the ministry praying for a minister at all costs, 
object in<>' to his being- placed, or scheming to bring 
about his dismissal. At the Reformation in 1558 
only a few of the Roman priests became 
Protestant, and for many years there was a 
scarcity of ministers. It was not until 15 ( J8, on 
the establishment of Presbyterianism, that the first 
Protestant minister was settled at Burntisland, the 
Church being- still at the Kirkton. His name 
cannot be iound from the Session Records in 
Burntisland, as these begin later, but William 
"Watson was minister on the King's visit to the 
General Assembly. For an account of this visit 
we have to be content with what Speed g-ives as 
a quotation from the Council Records. A repeated 
search failed to reveal this entry, and I think it 
must be from such of the /SVWw/i Records as are 
now in Edinburgh : " Apud Bruntiland testio 
Mcli, JG01. The baillies and Counsall qubais 
names follow, viz. : being- couvenit to- 

gidder in Counsall ordaines ane convenient house 
to b? provided for ye convention of ye ministrie 
with his mag'isty and his commissioners to he hal- 


ilon wtin ye Burgh on ye tent day of Mch instant, 
and ordains cuils to be providit to serve for fyre 
for ye said house, and all in ane voice thinks 
Andro AVilson his lodging most convenient for yt 
purpose . . ." Andro AVilson was the Town 
Clerk, and his house was at the South Hill. This 
house would merely be used as a refreshment place 
for the ministers, the convention being 1 held in 
the new church, a few steps distant. As has been 
seen in Chapter III., the King had visited Burnt- 
island Castle 011 more than one occasion, and was 
very partial to the Melvilles, so that it is more 
than probable he chose to be entertained there 
again during the several days he passed at Burnt- 
i si a nd at this time." In Calderwood's " History 
of the Church of Scotland," there appears the 
following: "But because the King had fallen 
from his horse and hurt his left shoulder, it (the 
Assembly) was appointed to be holden at Brunt- 
iland the 12th of May (1601) whereupon sundrie 
were disappointed," 

The eyes of the sincerer sort were upon Mr 
Patrick Thomson, who was in leets with Patrick 
Galloway & others. The King would needs have 
the leets changed, and a neutral man chosen. So 
Mr John Hall was chosen, not a neutral man, but 
a secret advancer of the King's course. 

A letter Avhich Mr James Mclriiic sent to be 
read to the Assemblie, the King taketh out of the 
Moderator's hand, & suffered it not to be read, 
but putteth it up in his pocket." 


; ' In the last Session (of Assembly) it was 
nieaned by sundrie of the Brethren, that there 
were sundrie errours in the vulgar translation of 
the Bible, and of the Psalms in meeter, which re- 
quired correcting 1 , etc." ''It was therefore con- 
cluded, that for the translation of the Bible, every 
one of the Brethren, who had greatest skill in the 
languages, employ their travels, in sundrie parts 
of the vulgar translation of the Bible, which need 
to be amended, and to confer the same together 
at the next AssemblLe." 

The King- was present at this "last Session," 
and made a speech, but does not appear, according 
to Calderwood, to have made any reference to the 
proposed new translation. 

The "g'ift" from the King- of 500 merks per 
annum, for the minister's salary, was apparently 
gone into again on this visit, the Council supple- 
menting it in .March, 1602, by 200 Scots. 

This William Watson, according' to the Privy 
Council Records, was one of the eight Presbyterian 
ministers from Scotland who met in conference 
with the King- at Greenwich in August 1606, on 
the question of Episcopacy which was reintroduced 
in 1610. Mr Watson held tenaciously to Presby- 
tery, and after a great deal of trouble was, in 1615, 
removed from his charge and warned never again 
to appear within eight miles of Burntisland. 

The heritors, until lO-'VJ, refused to pay their 
part of the minister's stipend, except lie officiated 


occasionally at Hie Kirkton ; and the manse was 
there till 1657, when a new one was provided in 
the town of the yearly value of 35. That at the 
Kirkton was said to be worth 60. 

In 1638 came the Covenant, which many of the 
inhabitants of Burntisland signed "with tearis of 
"Teat joy," but the minister, John Mitchelson, 
would not sig'n, and refused to read it in the 
Church, or allow it to be signed there. It was 
ultimately read by the church "docter," and 
Mitchelson deposed. 

In 1660 the minister was confined in Edinburgh 
Castle, and the town was making repeated applica- 
tions for his release. In an entry in the Session 
Records of August 28, there occurs the expression 
"our own minister Mr George Xairiie being 1 re- 
strained and keeped in the Castell of ICd 1 '." The 
following may be seen in Lament's Diary under 
date June 1670 "Mr George Xairne, late M. att. 
Bruntillande depairted out of this life att Fin- 
g-lassie in Fyft'e . . ." Ihit the services kept 
up well at this time, and on one Sunday in 1662, 
Speed states that a collection at the church door, 
for the repairs of Peterhead harbour, amounted to 
53 Ibs." Episcopacy .was being 1 strongly pressed 
under Lauderdale and Kothes, and shepherdless 
flocks met in private houses, or in the country, to 
hear what was forbidden in the church. Speed 
says, under date 1677, "for many years there 
were unsuccessful attempts to g-et a minister." 
Lauderdale had just sent strict orders to the 


Council to prosecute all frequenters of Convent- 

The minister in 1089 was a Mr Johnstone, 
an Episcopalian, and in that year Bailie Setoii 
was pulled up because 84 paid to him for meat 
and drink to the minister" had been used by him 
for "a stand of colours for the town's militia." 
William of Orange, while again establishing 
Presbytery in Scotland, refused to allow the Epis- 
copalians to be deprived of their charges, except 
something could be brought against their moral 
character. So, in 1690, "the pretended minister 
of Burntisland," Mr .Johnstone, was suspended. 
lint there were those in the town who resented 
this fiercely. When a Mr Shepherd was sent by 
the Presbytery to preach in his place "he found 
Mr .Jolmstone in the pulpit and the men of the 
congregation armed with staves, and he was forced 
to conduct his service at the Castle. It has been 
stated that Jolmstone was restored by the influence 
of the King, but this lacks confirmation. How- 
ever this xvas, the Session liecords show that Mr 
James Inglis, also an Episcopalian, was admitted 
in 109'5, and that the amount of dissatisfaction 
with Episcopacy led to his deposition in 1G99. All 
this appears strange when we read that the Prince 
of Orange abolished patronage. There was, how- 
ever, an important condition. If the patron in 
the case of Burnt island the Crown had built or 
sustained the Church it was necessary to pay him 
(JOO merks. Burnt island was entitled to a grant 


uf 500 merks annually for the minister's stipend. 
The town could barely afford to drop this Crown 

1 am indebted for the following 1 condensed 
account of a religious riot, to Mr John Jilyth, 
Kirkton, who made a complete extract of it from 
such of the Session Records as are in Edinburgh 
In .1711 a Mr Clegliorn was minister. In 1712, 
after his translation to AVemyss, Mr Kbme/er 
Krskine, afterwards founder of the Secession 
Church, "was called, but Mr AVilliam Duguid, 
licensed by the Presbytery in 1710, was also (ailed, 
and obtained in addition a presentation from 
Queen Anne," who had fully restored patronage. 
To meet the difficulty, the General Assembly 
bluntly ''declared his (Duguid's) license null and 
void, and presented a memorial to Her Majesty 
through John Duke of Athol." During the sitting 
of the Assembly, Mr Russell of Kennowav was 
sent by the Synod to preach at Burntisland. On 
landing at the pier "he was opposed in a very 
tumultuous manner by a mob," who laid hands 
on him and tried to get him to mount a horse they 
had ready for him, and leave the town "by the 
back side." He refused, and attempted to delay 
matters by begging "libertie to get a drink of 
ale." He must have dispatched a messenger for 
assistance when in the tavern, as "immediately 
after his asking a blessing" the crowd came and 
pulled him out again. Shortly afterwards "Bailie 
Thaland came up and took him by the hand, 


promising- to protect him," but immediately "the 
rabble, "Tipping- both, made them part hands, and 
gript the Bailie making his hat g-o one way and 
his wig another." At this time "Mr Colin 
Mackenzie, Rossend, and Bailie Anderson, came 
up and Mr Russell appealed to them to protect 
him. But they, using big words, did ask him 
how he could come there to occasion such a rabble. 
He answered he came by the authority oi' his 
Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, by appointment of 
the Synod of Fife. They replied, "Begone, sir," 
and desired him to mount his horse and prevent 
the effusion of blood. This Mr Russell did. 
This Duguid was said to be a Jacobite, and 
Burntisland at that time reputed to be ruled by 

Two years later, in 1714, I find the Council 
warning the Presbytery that King George was now 
their patron, and refusing to recognise their 
nominees. It was not till 1711) a minister was 
obtained, who, at first, seemed likely to be accept- 
able to both parties the Rev. James Thomson. 
He remained till 17-S7 when he joined the 
Seceders. He had refused to read from the pulpit 
a proclamation for the discovery of the murderers 
of Porteous, Captain of the City Guard of Edin- 
burgh. "James Thomson, minister of the 
Gospel" appears frequently and at great length 
in the Council Records, and prosecuted several 
law cases with great vigour. One of these was 
about a ruinous house on which he had, out of 


kindness, advanced money to William (led. The 
house was on the "North side of the Hig'h Street, 
fronting the Midgate" (the present Kirkgate, or 
a vennel then existing- between Kirkgate and 
Cockle AVynd). On Ged's death the liouse fell 
into Mr Thomson's hands, when lie was asked by 
the Council to render it habitable. This he, at 
first and for long 1 , refused to do "for all the Kind's 
horses and all the Kind's men." 

Sheriff Mackay portrays Fife as the nursery of 
Secession. The Cameronians originated with 
Richard Cameron, a native of Falkland. The 
Seceders, under Ebenezer Erskine, very .soon 
divided into Burghers and anti-Burghers, and 
ag;ain into Auld Lichts and New Lichts. There 
was the Relief Church arising 1 in Dunfermline. 
The Sandemanians owed their existence to Glas, 
son of a minister of Aiichtermuchty. The liereans 
too, thrived in Fife, and the Catholic Apostolic 
Church was founded by Edward Irving, sometime 
schoolmaster in Kirkcaldy. 

After the Secession the Church in Burntisland 
entered on a long- period of peace. The Rev. 
Robert Spears was appointed in 1743, and laboured 
for 36 years with g'reat acceptance. The Rev. 
Tames \Vemyss followed in 1770, ministering 1 for 
43 years. 

This welcome calm continued till the arrival of 
Dr Couper in 1834, the beginning- of the "ten 
years' conflict." Dr Couper "came out" in 1843, 


and brought nearly all the members with him. A 
church was built for him, at the very door of the 
Parish Church, by Hubert Young- of the Grange. 
Of the handful left "behind" in the Parish 
Church, not even one would go to hear the newly- 
appointed minister. He was accused of every- 
thing bad, even playing- "bools" in the Kirk pass- 
ages. However, he continued for some consider- 
able time to deliver his sermons to the Beadle and 

Hard as the people were to please with a 
minister yet difficulty was found in paying his 
stipend. It was often in arrears. This stinginess 
may have led the minister in 1G84 to " demand 
the tiend of fish." The Council went in a flutter 
about this to the Archbishop of St Andrews, and 
were greatly relieved to find that the Archbishop 
was not at the bottom of the proposal, and em- 
phatically refused to countenance it. Impecuni- 
osity abounded. This was not the only case of 
the " cat licking the dowg's mouth." In 1674 
the town's officers part of whose duties was to 
show people into the pews on Sunday, for which 
they were promised a share in the collections, 
had received nothing tor some time were con- 
strained dramatically to bring themselves to public 
recollection by taking a collection on their own 

After the trials of the Commonwealth the 
Session had much trouble with law-breakers of 


various sorts. They instituted what were called 
searchers, and reports were made weekly of the 
state of morals. " Vagiiig" the fields, the 
Castle lirae, or the " Shear" were forbidden. So 
were toasting- "bread and bring ing water on Snn- 
day. One pint of water was allowed. Hiring 
horses or carrying passengers by the Ferry on 
Sunday were subject to forfeiture of the horses 
or boats, but were by and by suffered, under 
supervision, on payment of considerable fines, 
which were given to the poor. A very strong 
breath of freedom must have been blowing through 
" society " at this time. Conciliatory measures 
seemed a waste of good temper, and the Council 
became so alarmed at this "progress of an age of 
reason" that they held a special meeting and 
""declared they would see the Act" as regards the 
Sabbath put in force "within the Cite," and 
warned all against " frequenting ale houses or 
taverns." Those absent from the Kirk without 
a " lawful excuse" were fined 5s, and " anyone 
brewing upon ye Saboth nycht at even sail pay 
6s 8d." About 1670 the Tuesday's sermon and 
sometimes the Wednesday's preaching are men- 
tioned. Cateuhi sings of particular persons took 
place nearly every week day. and all appeared in 
rotation on Sundays for that purpose. 

In 1073 Barbara Thaland appeared before the 
pulpit and confessed to having- indulged in the 
luxury of "fly ting," to the hurt of her neighbours, 
"'craved God's forgiveness, and promised not to do 


the lyke again." That required a lot of courage. 
\Ve lift our hat. Due to the spread of d:s::ise in 
1684 the Session and Council prohibited all persons 
from attending " lykewalks of dead corpses," and 
in 1689 no person was allowed to go to the house 
of a deceased person nor "eat, drink, nor smoke 
tobacco before a funeral." 

Witches, too. played the mischief with church 
and town. As early as 1598 Robert Brown ac- 
cused Janet Allan of causing the death of his son 
by witchcraft. She was tried by the town's jury 
of 15, found guilty, and sentenced to be " brunt 
quick." She must have been pardoned, as shortly 
after she is accused of another death, and again 
sentenced. Lament says in 1649: 'This sum- 
mer there were very many witch taken and brunt 
in seuerall parts of this Kingdom, as in Lothian 
and i'Vft'e, vix., in Knderkething, Aberdoure, 
Bruniillande, Deysert, Dunfermling." A very 
remarkable case occurred in 1673, recorded in the 
Session Records now in the Register House. The 
case is very voluminous, but a long extract lias 
been made by Mr John Blyth, Kirkton, who has 
been kind enough to allow me to take from it 
the following very condensed account : 

Klspeth Finlay appeared before the Session and 
confessed in great detail to having seen the "devill 
in bodilie shape, on a moonlight night, when she, 
was going for a pynte of aill " for the Town 
Clerk, to whom she was a servant. She appears 
to have resented the tricks and practical jokes of 


another curious female (Margaret Couper), and 
Klspeth's stories about her are calculated to prove 
her friendly with Satan. She said Margaret 
Couper accosted her, when out for the usual aill, 
and hade her steal widow Baine'-fi bairn's snood 
oft' his head, and thereafter swear that Jon 
MoncriefTs wife gave her it. On another occa- 
sion at night she was following' the crowd which 
was marching' with the " pype and drum," when 
she lost her shoe in the sand, and, searching' for 
it, saw " Margaret Couper, at Jon Halkston's well, 
who came up to her, took her by the hand, and 
brought her to the Devil." She saw "ye foule 
theefe standing at ye barn dcor like ane high 
man, and higher, with black cloathes, and a blew 
bonnet." . . . He and Margaret went a little 
distance" from her " till a consultation." " Mar- 
garet then took out a little black cuttie spoon" 
and poured a spoonful of water on the middle 
fing'er of Elspeth's left hand, and while this rite 
was taking 1 up her attention the " foule theefe" 
suddenly " laid his hands beavy and cold as iron 
on hers." With that she fell, got up again, but 
she could not speak, and her legs almost failed 
her. Margaret Couper said "sillie facile thing'," 
and laug'hed along- with the devil. Again, 
Margaret Couper took her to her house one night 
and went through some e?ri? encantations. She 
lighted a little stick which she took from a "mugg 
with brimston . . . that blented, blented with 
a blew low," etc. The Devil then appeared again, 


"white" this time "except his face and hands." 
She made a great to do, and did not know how 
she got out of the house ; but she saw him again 
"all in black at ye cheik of ye door," and as she 
staggered on the way home to the Town Clerk's 
she passed the " foule theefe again a-11 in black 
on the top of the crag." Her legs failed her, 
and she foundered going up her master's stair. 
The Clerk must haA'e been "dry," and would pro- 
bably not observe (if there was any of his "pynte 
of aill " left after these athletics) that it wa.s 
mulled and strongly sulphurous. 

It seems the ministers of Uurntisland and 
Kinghorn were acknowledged authorities in the 
now lost art of witch-finding. The King-horn 
minister is described a,s having: been an absolute 
terror to the wretched creatures who appeared 
before him. This appears to have been due to 
the fact that, somewhat like Willie Wastel's 
wife, of whom Burns wrote " she had an e'e, she 
had but ane, the cat had twa the very colour," 
lie had a black mask over one eye which gave to 
the other, though not situated like Cyclop's in 
the centre of the forehead, an uncanny and pro- 
digious penetration. This time lie met his match. 
Meeting- after meeting was held over these two 
hussies without their judges being able to decide 
which was telling the truth. They were com- 
pletely baffled. Kls]>eth had the better of them 
all. She appears never to have forgiven Margaret 


for frightening lier, and especially for calling her 
a " sill}- facile thing-." 

In all, from the year 1563 to 1722 there are 
figures to show that in Scotland alone over 4000 
persons were burned for practising witchcraft. 
Thirty were burned on the Castle Hill of Edin- 
burgh on account of their supposed attempt to 
persuade the Devil to raise a storm to destroy the 
ship in which James VI. was bringing home his 
Danish bride. Dangerous as the reputation for 
having dealings with Satan was, it seems strange 
that in many cases women so accused seemed 
rather to enjoy the charge; stranger still, to us, 
that most ministers should have been strong be- 
lievers in it. Even to a late period the belief 
held on. AVhen the Statutes against witchcraft 
were repealed in 1735 a section of the Seceders 
were greatly offended, and made efforts to show 
in an Act of Presbytery in 1743 that this repeal 
was contrary to the express law of God, " thou 
shalt not suffer a witch to live." 

If there are any stray magicians left, no Gov- 
ernment is bold enough to burn them, or even to 
heap coals of fire on their head by feeding them. 
One tiling is certain, we may safely go abroad o' 
nights, the present fashion in skirts making aerial 
excursions astride broomsticks impossible. 


Abbots of Dunferrnline, 21. 3(i. 


Abbot's Hall, 3G. 
Abercroinbie, Colonel James. 

M.P.. burghs, 58. 
Agricola, 16, 17. 
Ale, 77, 78. Duty on, 78. 84. 


Ale tasters, 77. 

Alexander III., 22. 39, 12.3, 121. 
Ammunition, 95. 114. 
Anderson. Sir R. Rmvand, 

LL.D., 135, 158. 
Aiu-horage. 62. Value and 

charges, 84, 166. 
Anderson, Dr.. 19. 
Anne of Denmark, 43, 208. 
A n up. Queen, 200. 
Arbitration, 157. 
Arms, Coats of, Burnti-land. 

ancient, 83, 151 ; present, 135. 

.136; Royal, 174. 
Army in Ireland, subscription.^. 

96, 97; Commonwealth', ll(i. 
Arskine, Sir John, M.P.. 57. 
Astrolabe, 174, 181, 182. 

Bakers, 75, 151, 156; .seat, 193. 

Balingall, Mrs, 131, 146. 

Banishment, 80. 

Bani|uet, 70, 79. 

Bailies, election, 51; defied .">!; 
imprisoned, 60, 62; their 
powers, 62; cursing them. 113. 

Bnlbio. 44. 

Balmnto. 93. 

Barony. II. 

Mention. Hubert, of Kilrie, 48. 

llell. To] booth, 70. 89. Kirk. 

Beaconage, 62. 

Beggars, 80. 

Ben net, M. W., 177. 

Beer, 75, 77. 

Bernham, Bishop David de, 119. 


Bertiiand, 24, 26. 
Bible, 136. 

Binn (House), 13, 14. 
Binu (Hill), 13, 14, 20. 
Binnend, 16,- 125; Seat, 140. 
Black Jock's Hill, 125. 
Black Staae, 124. 
Blackness Caatle, 107. 
Blyth, John, 200, 205. 
Blyth, George, 18. 
Boat*, Luggage, 83. 
Boatsilver, 62, 85. 
Eodotria, 16. 
Bo ids. 56, 165. 
Bonfires, 70. 
Bools, 203. 
Booths, 62, 76. 
Bos well, Sir Alexander, 18. 

Branding, 80. 

Bread, 75. 204. 

Brewer-;. 77, 78. 

British (.'amp, 17. 

Broken WaiuK 58. 

Broonihill, 62, 97, 99, 104. 

Bioughton, Colonel, 48. 

Bulletis, 69. 

Burgess, 25, 71 ; Female, 85 ; 

Oaths and Fees, K>."> l>. 
Burgh Courts, 51. 
Burgh .Mail. 30. 
Burgh Official*, .in- Town Clerk. 

Town Officers, Constables, 

Procurator Fiscal. Treasurer. 


Burghs Uo\al. Baron, nnd Re" 
ahty. 25,' 2H. 



Burghs Convention, 52, 71, 100, 

Burutisland, Prehistoric and 
Roman, 13, 14, 16; Derivation 
and first mention of name, 21, 
23, 24, 26, 28; Parish, 26, 119 ; 
B. of Regality, 24, 26, 30. 
Burgh Royal,' 29, 30, 31; 
Barony aud Lord of, 44, 45 ; 
Bonds, 56; Sedition, 59; Con- 
vention, 57; Assembly, 197; 
Bankrupt, 61, 65, 78 ; one 
hundred years ago, and line.-'. 
72, 73 ; Coats of Arms, 83, 135, 
151; Early Attacks, 92; Be 
seiged, 108; Surrender, 109; 
English Garrison, 112; Dutch 
Attack, 114; Earl of Mar's 
Ru-e, 115-6; Result of Occu- 
pation, 116-7. 

Burntisland Castle, 16, 17, 26 ; 
Boundaries and Rights, 31, 
34; Early History, 35, 36; 
Lines, 38 ; St Margaret's 
Relics, 38, 39; Proprietors, 36, 
43, 48 ; English Headquarters. 
lf)0, 112; Max's Defence, 115, 
116; Kirk Seat, 134, 135; 
Visits of James VI., 45, 196. 

Burntisland Harbour, James V. 
Harbour Works, 27 ; Latin 
Name 30, 31 ; Petitions to 
Parliament re Dock, 78 ; 
Provost's Pier, 73 ; Revenue, 
62; Piers in 1600, and Imp. 
Customs, 82 ; Imports, Ex- 
ports, and Burntifilaiid Ships 
in 1640, 83 ; Forts, 82, 93. 99, 
101 ; Attacked, 101 ; Crom- 
well's Pier and Repairs, 109. 

Burntifiland, Lords, 45, 46. 

Bute, Marquis of, 135. 

Byng, Sir George. 116. 

Cairn, 15. 
Caledonias, 21. 
Caledonians, 21. 
Campbell. Murdock, 48. 
Canmore, Malcolm, 39. 
Canopies, we Kirke Seats. 
Castle, see Burntisland Castle. 

Castle Mills, 31, 32, 33. 

Castor and Pollux, 69. 

Catechisings, 204. 

Charles I., 98; visit and cook. 
137, 138. 

Charles II., declaration, 61 ; 
Coronation, etc., 70; visits 
and costs of restoration, 99; 
Stirling, 107; Message, 108. 

Charters, 29, 30, 31. 

Chastellard, 40. 

Chaplin, Alexander, seat 136, 

Chevalier, The Old, 70. 

Clayness, Sands, 42; Fort, 10'), 
101; Keepers, 103. 

Clock, Town, 76, 89. 

Coal, Dues, 62 ; Conveyance and 
Export of, 84; Value of Cus- 
toms, 85. 

Coine, 104, 123. 

Cokefce Clerk, and Seal, 82. 

Collection, 95. 96, 198. 203. 

" Comon Lands," 62. 99. 

Common Roll.s, 51. 

Commonwealth, sr<- Army. 

Communion, 144. 

Compass, 174, 182. 

Constables, 51, 58. 

Convener, 52, 54. 

Conventicle, 18. 

Convention of Burghs, see 
Burghs Convention. 

Cot-burn-dale, 125. 

Council, Town, Method of Elec- 
tion, 51, 60, 157, 162, 169, 203. 

Councillors, unwilling, 59, 60 ; 
relaxation, 70, 71. 

Council of State, 53. 

Covenant, 198. 

Covenanters, 97. 

Customs Receiver, 44. 

Customs, small, 62 ; list of "11 
1670, 85. 

Cunning'ham, John Gilchrist. 

Cunyngayrland, 24. 

Craigkennoohie, 15, 62, 72. 

Craigluscar, 38. 

Cromwell's Pier, *?e Burntislaml 



Cromwell, 105; letter, 106; 

strategy, letters, etc., 107-108; 

stay at Burntisland, and 

house, 111; Proclaimed, 113; 

his legacy, 123. 
Crossgate, 19. 
Cross, or Crosshouse, 75, 90-91, 


Cross-staff, 175, 180, 181. 
Crow, William, the late, 169. 
Crown, four pleas of, 26. 
Crown of the Cau-eway, 155. 

Darien Scheme, 55. 

David I., 118. 

Davidson, John and Walter, 66. 

Dean of Guild, &>?. Guildry. 

Defoe, 84. 

Delves, 125 (mare's), 73. 

Dempster, 51, 59. 

Devil, the, 103, 205, 206. 

Devil's punch bowl, 103. 

Diamonds, 19. 

Discipline, Church, 203. 

Disruption, 202. 

Docksilver, 62. 

Dodhead, seat, 133. 

Drummer, 60, 80, 206. 

Dunbar rout, 100, 105. 

Dunearn ; camp, lake, bottle. 

etc., 17, 18. 
Dunfennline Abbey, destroyed. 

39; lands annexed to Crown. 

43; grant, 118; Chartulan, 

Durie-i, arms, 35 ; seal of, 35, 38 ; 

Peter, 37; George, .sainted, 

his morals, 36, 38, 142; David, 

43; John's seat, 142. 

Edinburgh, Cattle, 39, 44. 99. 


Elgin, Earl of, 48. 
Elizabeth, Quec>n, 44. 
Earncraig, 82, 104. 
Earthquake, 127. 
East H-iid, 82. 
Episcopacy, 191, 198, 200. 
Erskinc, Rev. Ebenexer, L'OII. 
ErskiiK-, Sir Jam<>s St Cliiir. 

Provost, 56; M.P., 57. 

Ereflaiid, 24. 
Executions, 81. 
Exports, 84. 

Fair, sec Market. 

Fairfax, Miss and Lieutenant, 


Fencibles, see. Militia. 
Ferguson, William, of Raith, 

Provost, 56, 136. 
Ferguson, Duncan, ex-Provost, 


Ferry, 112, 194, 204. 
Fife Burghs, 55. 
Fines and Penalties, 46, 61, 62, 

63, 70, 77, 79, 116, 146, 152, 

155, 189, 194, 204. 
Finlayson, Rev. Joseph, sage, 


Fish, sale of, 76 ; cod and her- 
ring, 84; tiend of, 203. 
Kleshers, 76; seat, 133, 140, 147, 

149 ; <seal of cause, 157. 
Forbes, Bishop Alexander Pen- 

rose, and Rev. Henry Hay, 


Forbes, Mr, Oil Cake Co., 41. 
Fortifications, 82, 92, 95, 100; 

Position of and resume, 101 ; 

Plan, 102. 
Free Trade, 85. 
(''men, we Burgoss. 

(1 lories, et< Kirk. 

G.vl'ow Hill, 103. 

Gammack, Dr James, 11?. 

Garrison, 101, 111, 112. 

God, Alexander, M.P., L.4, !!?; 

Captaij. 114; seat, 144. 
General Assembly, 71, 97, 108, 

196, 200. 

George IV., 101. 
Glamis Castle, 93. 
Golf, 69. 

Grange Distillery, 18. 
Grange, seats, 133, 142. 
Graysunday Pier, 82. 
(irivimmiiiit, 14. 
(rriclT. Patrick. Provost. 53. 
Guns, 7ll. 100 -101 ; taken n\ 

Cromwell, 116, 126. 


Guildry, 133; seats, 147, 158; 

book, 161 ; Council and Dean, 

162; box, privileges, etc., 164; 

seats and Lord Dean, 167 ; 

panels, 157, 162, 168; Dean. 

Guilds, ancient, 150. 

Hailstones, 20. 
Halfmooii Battery, 104. 
Hamilton. Patrick, 37. 
Hamilton, Duke of, 55, 97. 
Hamilton, Dame Jean, 135. 
Hammermen, 133, 149, 151 ; 

book, etc., 185; arms, deacon, 

etc., 186. 

Harbour, get Burntisland. 
Harley shot, 125. 
Harrow, Mrs, 172. 
Haxton of Rathillet, 153. 
Herring, 84. 
Heritors, 200. 
Head Court, 51, 59. 
Hirers, seats, 149. 151, 194. 
Horologe, 89. 
House-letting, 79. 
Horse race, 70. 
Home, Sir George, Provost, 31. 


Imports, 83. 
Inchkeith, 92. 
Inchgarvie, 106. 
Invasion, 57, 100. 
Irish Rebellion, 97. 

Jacobites, 115, 201. 

James IV., 27. 

James V., 26, 51, 118, 151. 

James VI., 42; visits Castle, Jb. 

46, 128; Assembly. 197. 
Jones, Paul, 116. 
Jury of 15 ; name^ in Latin, 62. 

Kidd, Alexander, 176. 

Kinghorn, Earl of, 93. 

Kinghorn, 16, 22 ; Wester Parish 
and Kirk, 26 ; Easter and 
Wester, parva and I/HI//IXI, 

King's Haven, 25. 

Kingsvvood. 22. 

Kirk, 80; erection, 118; design. 
126 ; belfry, steeple, earth- 
quake, 127; chairs, slated. 
pulpit, etc., 128; alteration-. 
1822, 130; seats and pulpit. 
131, 137; canopies, 130, 135, 
136; right to seats, 136; ladle, 
plates, sand-glass, ship, chan- 
deliers, offenders' stool, 145; 
galleries, 146 ; Session, 144, 
191, 200; redecorated, 158; 
Secession, 201 ; Disruption, 
203; Discipline, 204. 

Kirkyard, 63, 98. 

Kirk Seat, 135, 136, 140. 

Kirke, Miss K. J., Hilton, ];>, 
130, 173, 179. 

Kirke, Mrs John, 182. 

Kirke, D. J. Balfour, Provost, 
27, 174. 

Kirkcaldy dialect, 167. 

Kirkcaldy of Grange, 42, 92. 

Kirkton Church, 26, 118, 146 

Knaps, the, 125. 

Knox, John, 37, 46. 

Lammerlaws, 42, 63, 72; fort. 
100, 171. 

LandaJe, Dr, 13. 

Landale, Miss, 182. 

Laurie, W. A., 35, 48. 

Laurie, Mrs, 35, 175. 

Le Mains, 37, 125. 

Leslie, John, Lojxl ; Hon. 
Thomas, Hon. Charles, Pro- 
vost ; ; Norm aai and Earl 
Rothes, 56. 

Leslie, Hon. Charles, 89. 

Leslie, General, 96, 101. 

Leslie of Quartier's seat, 142. 

Leven and Melville, Earls of, 

Leven, Ear] of, 55, 112. 

Lilburn, Colonel, 112. 

Linen, 84. 

Links, 63, 72, 79, 164. 

Lord St Clair's Raid, 115. 

Low, David, lines by. 66. 



Louping Dykes, 166. 
Lucius ill., Pope, lib. 
Lykewalka, 205. 

Mackenzie, Colin. 34 

Malt, 78. 

Maltinen, 149, 151, 193. 

Marc-lies perambulation, 64. 

Market goods, meat, drink, 
coals, etc., 75. 

Markets, Inspectors, 62; meal, 
fle.-.h, etc., 75; days. 75; 
annual. 152. 

Marv of Lorraine, 92. 

Mary. Queen, 40, 42, 151. 

M In tosh. Bailie, 172. 

M'Omish, Mre, 103, 146. 153, 

Melville, Stir Joint, of RaiMi, 
37, 41. 42. 

Melville, Sir Robert, the fir-st, 
30, 31, 43, 44. Sir Robert, 
the }'ounger, 33. 4fj. 47, 52; 
scat. 135. Sir James of Hal- 
liill succeeds, son same name 
follows, 46; subscription, 96. 
Lord Melville of Raith pri- 
soner in Castle. 47. Jame.s 
Melville, 167. 

"Mettaris, coinon," 62. 

Mill Dam, 31. 

Mills, various, 31-32. 

Moderators. ."i2. 

Monmouth, Duke of, 70. 

MOIKS Grampus. 2u. 

Morgan, Major-General, 113. 

Moiibray, John, of Cockairnie. 

Moubray, Francis, of Barnboglr. 

\ct.her Grange, 37 ; seat. 142. 
\ ul)iging, 125; seat, 143. 
\nrth C'ommon Lands, 99. 

01<1 Man'.- Scat, 140. 

Orn.ik. Alexander. 16; Alex- 
ander. David, William, and 
Captain Orroek, 21; Robert, 
King's Master of Works, 21, 
27, 28. 

Orroek House, 19; diamonds. 

etc., 19, 20. 
Orroek. lands of, 44. 
Oswald, James, Townsend, Pro 

vost, 56; M.P., 58. 
Over Kinghorn, 44. 

1'ack and Peel, 163. 

Panels, Guild, 131, 157, 158; 
East Gallery, 5th panel, 166 ; 
6th, 173; 7fh. 173; 8th, 174, 
9th, 175; 10th, 175; 14th, 170, 
and 15th, 177. South Gallery. 
1st, 179; 2nd, 179; 3rd. 180: 
4th, 182: 5th, 182; tith, 173; 
7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 168. 

Parliament, Scottish, Common- 
wealth, Union, 55-57. Sir J. 
Arskine, M.P., at Union, f7 ; 
members after Union, 57. 

Patrick, Master of Gray, 36. 

Patronage, 199, 200. 

Paving, iti'f Street. 

Perth, 115. 

Petitions to Parliament, 57, 78. 

Pettycnr, 22. 

Pierci, under own names and 
Burntisland Harbour. 

Pillars, Kirk, 158, 160. 

Pillory, 90. 

Piper, town's, 155. 

Piracy, 28, 95. 

Pitcairn, Lord Robert, 30, 37, 

Pit ligo Press, 120. 

Pitre-avie, 107. 

Plague, 76, 80, 164. 

Poor, 63, 151, 203. 

Pope Innocent. 40. 

Port. 62, 92, 109. L58. 

Portus Gratius, 31, 92. 

Postmaster, 62, 194. 

Postmaster-General, 194. 

Postsilver, 62, 194. 

Presbyterianism, 195, 196, 198. 

Prime Guild, 149; stair, 149- 
150; rules, 171. 

Privateers, 28-29, 96. 

Procurator -Fiscal, 27. 

Provost, first, 51 ; list of, 52. 

Pulpit, si'f Kirk. 

2I 4 


Quadrant, 181, 183. 
Quartering, 101, 112. 
Quartermaster, 62. 
Queensferry, 107. 

Ransomee, see Sailors. 

Revenues, 62. 

Riots, 59, 60 ; Council Chamber 

81 ; streets, 199. 
Roads, ancient, 124. 
Roger, Allan, F.E.I.S., 62, 176. 
Roger, James, M.A., 176. 
Roman Fleet, 16 ; Antiquities, 

17; Calendar, 119. 
Rosseiid, see Burntisland Cast!:. 
Rothes, Earl of, 198. 

Sabbath-breaking, 49, 194, 204^ 
Sailors ; captive, 94 ; poor, 101 ; 

sentries, 101-4 ; navy, 113 ; 

society ajid panels, 171-179. 
Sand, blown, 13. 
Schanks, Murdock, 124. 
School, 64-5-6. 
Schoolmaster, Schoolmistress, 


School Doctor, 64. 
Seals of Cause, 157, 186, 188. 
Seamills, 31, 32, 33, 47, 85; 

seat, 142. 
Searches, 204. 
Seat-letting, 191 
Seats, svc Guilds, Heritors, 

Plans, 128, 133; and individ- 
ual names. 
Seeders, 198, 202. 
Sentries, 101-4. 
Session, see Kirk. 
Sett of the Burgh, 51, 58, 59. 
Seymour, Admiral, 92. 
Sibbald, Sir Robert. 16, 17. 142. 
Sick Benefit, 162. 
Sigillaria, 14. 
Silverbarton, 21. 
Shepherd, James, Rossend 

Castle, 34, 48, 182. 
Ships, privateering, 28 ; number 

in 1640, 83 ; warship*, 92, 93. 
Shirra, Rev. Mr, 116. 
Shoemakers ; seat, 141, 149, 151. 

156; arms, etc., 188. 

Shore, 62, 204. 

Smiths, xr.<> Hammermen. 

Smuggling, 62, 152. 

Soldiers, 92, 98. 99; 107, 10? 

Somerville, M., 49; seat, 142 

Speed, James, 24, 83, 90. 11^ 

143, 147, 153, 195. 
Spice Rue, 84. 
St Adamnan, 118. 
St Andrew's CLOSS, 172. 175-1) 
St Serf, 119, 120. 
St George's Cross, 175. 
St Margaret, 38-9, 40. 
St Patrick's Crose, ITti. 
Statutes, 61, 79. 
Steamboat pier, 87. 
Stellar, Colonel James, M.I'. 


Stevenson, D.W., 103, 193. 
Stranger's Seat, 140. 
Streets, 84, 91, 109; 110, 155. 
Stent Roll, 63. 
Stentmaster, 62. 
Stewart, James, 18. 
Sugar House, 41, 84. 
Sword. James, M.P., 54. 
Swine, 76. 

Tacksmen, 63. 

Tailors, 151, 157. 191 ; insignia, 

seats, saints, etc., 191. 
Taverns, 69, 73. 
Taxes, 60, 79, 84, 113. 
Taylor, James, of Starleyhall. 


Tiend of Fish, 204. 
Tiutock Tap, 19. 
Tobacco, 46, 205. 
Tolbooth, 51; bell, 70; in 1592. 

etc., 87 ; clock, 89 ; a barracks, 

100, 112. 
Town Clerk, 60; in prison, 60: 

bolts, 61, 91, 196. 
Town Officers, 51, 58. 
Treasurer, 51, 70, 79, 140. 
Tronhouse, 90. 
Tumulus, 15. 
Tweedale, Earl of, 30, 77. 


Unfreemen, 75, 152, 153, 155. 

Unlaw, 76. 

Union Jack, 174, 175. 

Union of Crowns and Parlia- 
ments, 45, 57, 176. 

Urns cinerary, 13, 14. 

Violer, Town's, 155. 
Vitriol Works, 84, 104. 

Wadclell, James, Burgh Sur- 
veyor, 90. 

Wallace, Thomas A., 135, 153, 
159, IGO. 

War. 92 105. Dutch, 113-117. 

Watching and warding, 62. 

Watchmaker, 89. 

NVutson, John; seat, 140. 

Weapons, drawing, 81 ; raid on, 

Weavers; seat, 134, 141, 149, 
151, 157; seat and box, 193. 

Weight*? and Measures, 62. 

Wemyss, Earl of, 47-8, 136. 

Wemyss, Sir James, 47, 135-6 ; 
Rev. James, 202 ; Sir James 
and Wemyss arms, 49-50. 

Wemys-i, Countess of, 32, 47, 
136; seat, 142. 

Well o' the Spa, 20.' 

Welton, 21. 

West Head, 31, 82. 

Whales, 49, 77. 

WMimyhall, 133, 142. 

William of Orange, 145, 197. 

Williamson, Mrs, 141. 15.'5. 

Wilson, William, 31. 

Winter, Admiral, 92. 

Wi'hart, family, 175. 

Witchcraft, 26,' 205-208. 

Women ; Burgesses, 85, 101, 
156; feirk seats, 137; Free- 
man's daughter, 188. 

Wood, Sir Andrew, 27. 

Wrights, 151, 185-8. 

"Ye," 23-4. 

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